Published by Scholastic
Summary: Chase and Ava are at a flea market with their parents when they discover a mysterious suitcase. The woman who sells it to them acts kind of odd, and when they buy it, a man chases after them to try to get it back for himself. Inside are several artifacts, including what they think is a dragon doorknob. It leads them back through time to Camelot, where they meet up with Merlin and discover that Arthur is in danger. Turns out the dragon is no ordinary doorknob, but actually the hilt of Excalibur. The two children prove instrumental in reuniting the sword and its hilt just in time to save the king. The man from the flea market shows up again, still after his suitcase, but the kids manage to elude him and return to the present. The other artifacts in the suitcase, as well as the pictures on the back cover, assure readers that there will be at least three more books in this series. 96 pages; grades 1-3.
Pros: There’s plenty of action in this latest entry from the Scholastic Branches imprint. Fans of The Magic Tree House may find this a fun series to try for a change of pace; it’s right around the same reading level. The Branches books always find a ready audience in my libraries.
Cons: As much as I love Wendy Mass and want to praise everything she does, this is a little too close to The Magic Tree House. A bookish brother and his slightly younger adventurous sister travel back in time. Seems like Scholastic could have tried a bit harder for originality.