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Book review: 'The Stones of Horsh' entertains, enthralls

"BENOTRIPIA, Book 2: The Stones of Horsh," by Mckenzie Wagner, Cedar Fort, $8.99, 137 pages (f) (ages 7 and up)

Having saved her mother, the queen, from the evil Darvonians in "The Rescue," Rosabelle returns in "The Stones of Horsh" to save the land of Benotripia. Twelve-year-old Utah author Mckenzie Wagner has written another story that entertains and enthralls.

Rosabelle and her three friends are reunited as they seek to find the three stones of Horsh before they fall into the hands of the Darvonians.

Throughout the book more is learned about the background and abilities of the three friends, so much so that this sequel can be enjoyed without any knowledge of the first book.

The narrative moves along swiftly, and in places sometimes too swiftly and fortuitously. There are elements to the story that could be developed to provide a more detailed narrative.

"Stones of Horsh" is a middle grade reader book and is engrossing as the characters learn of new lands and new creatures while drawing on important traits and concepts such as bravery, friendship and devotion to a cause.

The book comes with discussion questions that can serve as the starting point for dialogue. "The Stones of Horsh" is a good book for confident readers — perhaps for ages 7 and up — or for parents who want a book to read at bedtime to younger children with nothing in its content that will worry anybody.

James Holt is a senior lecturer in religious education at the University of Chester, in the United Kingdom, and can be contacted at james.holt@chester.ac.uk.