Danger in Ancient Rome (Ranger in Time #2) by Kate Messner, 2015, 160 pages, Lexile Measure 610, is one in a series of four books, so far. Regular readers of this blog know I can’t get enough of Ranger, the golden retriever who is whisked back in time to help people in trouble. Keep ’em coming, Kate.
Ranger, the time-traveling golden retriever, is back for the second book in Kate Messner’s new chapter book series. This time, he’s off to save the day in ancient Rome!
Ranger is a golden retriever who has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog. In this adventure, Ranger travels to the Colosseum in ancient Rome, where there are gladiator fights and wild animal hunts! Ranger befriends Marcus, a young boy Ranger saves from a runaway lion, and Quintus, a new volunteer gladiator who must prove himself in the arena. Can Ranger help Marcus and Quintus escape the brutal world of the Colosseum?
I enjoyed this tale. Ranger continues to be lovable, Messner’s characters to be warm and believable, and the detailed drawings to bring the action to life. I didn’t like this one quite as much as the other two I have read, Rescue on the Oregon Trail (Ranger in Time #1), (my review) and, Long Road to Freedom (Ranger in Time #3).(my review). I think this is because the culture of the social structure of the gladiators is so foreign, it was harder for me to understand. I kept wanting Marcus to just leave, even though the author explained at the beginning that he was a slave. It was also hard to relate to the aspirations of Marcus and Quintus to display their bravery in the arena and make the emperor proud. Perhaps I would have been more clued in had I started with the fourteen-page Author Note at the back of the book. The note is interesting, and I definitely recommend reading it first to better understand the context of the story. I am looking forward to reading the next Ranger in Time book.
Books at about the same reading level that you may also like:
The Good Dog, by Avi. This book is written entirely from a dog’s point of view! This is one of the few books that my daughter really loved.
Mountain Dog, by Margarita Engle. This book alternates chapters from a boy’s point of view and a dog’s point of view. Unlike Ranger, who was trained as a search-and-rescue dog but can’t work as one because he gets too distracted by squirrels, 🙂 the dog in this story actually does find lost people.
I Survived the Destruction of Pompei, AD 79, by Lauren Tarshis. This is from the wonderful historical fiction series that takes readers to some of the most perilous moments in history. You always know the main character is going to be okay because of the title of the series, yet the stories are very suspenseful.
For more middle grade book reviews, follow the links on Shannon Messenger’s blog.