When my two older brothers were 5 and 6, or maybe 15 and 16 (although the story would be infinitely more ridiculous if the former were true,) they were allowed to travel across state to spend a weekend with some girls they’d met at a rave. Okay, that last bit isn’t true. Truth is, I haven’t a clue how the two goobers knew these girls. But no matter, they took a bus 5+ hours to the other side of Pennsylvania to be with girls. Girls! That’s a fact. My parents must’ve been loopy — it was the mid-70’s after all. 😉
Save for my separated-by-51-weeks brothers, young people are, generally speaking, not traveling around all Han Solo-style. This is just one of the nuggets that help make the Gannon & Wyatt middle grade travel adventure books so very intriguing. Who are these kids? And why are they in Botswana? The Bear had to know.
My oldest girl, pushing ten years of age, is a voracious reader. In the last two years alone she’s plowed through the whole of the Magic Tree House series, found clues with Nancy Drew, examined the entirety of The Mysterious Benedict Society, ventured into Hogwarts for a couple of semesters, attended classes at Wayside School, and fought alongside (Cinder) Ella in a pair of Hero’s Guides. And way more too. She’s already read 10x as many books as I ever have. And now she’s read all three Travels with Gannon and Wyatt books by Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet, finishing the newest, Egypt (due out in Jan 2014,) last week in a way that screamed out, “These books are SOOOOO awesome!”
But, let’s hear it straight from her about the series as a whole and her favorite volume. To set the table, the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt books are:
- Botswana (released May 2013)
- Great Bear Rainforest (released October 2013)
- Egypt (to be released January 2014)
On the style of the books
I was surprised the books are written as journal entries. I’d never read a book like that before and think it’s cool although it was harder to understand some things, because descriptions of what was happening weren’t as detailed as it would have been in a regular style book.
On characters in peril
Another book I read recently was called Everything on a Waffle. In that book, the main character, Primrose, got hurt a couple of times (lost a toe and the tip of her finger). I don’t like hearing or reading about really bad injuries because it grosses me out. While reading [specific] details of Primrose’s accidents, I could picture them in my mind and it made me feel very uncomfortable. Gannon also got hurt in the second book (concussion & broken arm), but the descriptions weren’t as detailed so I didn’t get the same feeling. Thankfully!
On the characters
I could tell that Wyatt & Gannon had different personalities by the way they wrote their journal entries — Wyatt is more scientific and math-y compared to Gannon, whose entries just have the date & general info (ex: “night”) or sometimes just his name like when they are stranded. Wyatt would include details like temperature, wind speed, and exact time. It was obvious by the casual way he writes that Gannon is a people person and way more talkative than Wyatt. For example, Gannon liked to study how to speak the language of where he was going so he could talk to the people in their native language.
On being a new vegetarian and reading Travels with Gannon and Wyatt
I am a vegetarian because I decided I didn’t like the idea of eating other animals, so it was really disturbing to read that part in the first book when they had to eat the snake. Gross!
On sibling relationships
A lot of the time Gannon & Wyatt are mean to each other, for example: Gannon makes mean [Jeff here: but really funny!] jokes about Wyatt like “How many Wyatts does it take to start a campfire? Obviously more than one, bro” and that one time (in Egypt) he played a prank on his brother to make him think he wasn’t accepted into an important archaeological dig project. In turn, Wyatt yells at Gannon a lot. But just as often, they care about each other too. If you asked Wyatt if he loves his brother one second he’ll say no, then ask him the next second he’ll say yes. [Jeff here again, I asked the Bear how she thinks being a twin and traveling around together every waking hour is different than the life she and her sister, who are 3+ years apart, share. The following are the Bear’s loosely transcribed comments] I think that being twins makes their relationship stronger and more difficult too because they’ve been together from the very start. My sister and I are super close and hardly ever fight but I think that’s because I was an only child for a little bit and so I haven’t spent every second of my whole life with her.
On her favorite Travels with Gannon and Wyatt book
My favorite of the three books is Egypt, for a couple of reasons. In one part, Gannon went into a school, a preschool I think, with lots of little Egyptian kids and his mom who was volunteering in the classroom. All the children were hanging on him, jumping around and having fun. I loved that because I love little kids and I like when they hang on to me when we have my younger sister’s friends over for a playdate or a party. I also loved the newest book best because I want to go to Egypt someday, so bad!, after learning all about the country in kindergarten and 1st grade (my teacher had been there and told us a lot of cool stories about it.) It is still my favorite country! Later on in the book, Gannon had a piece of tile that his grandfather had given him while on his own search for Cleopatra. Unfortunately, his grandfather died in Egypt before finding her, but Gannon put the piece into the puzzle to be able to lift up the flap and that moment was the best because it was kind of scary and really exciting to see if Gannon would find Cleopatra.
The joy and excitement exhibited by my daughter while reading the three Travels with Gannon and Wyatt books was palatable. We both agree that the series of adventure books are terrific for both boys and girls and should be a part of any middle grade reader’s literary diet. To see the look in her eyes when discussing her favorite moments or lone sentences that made her laugh or be frightened was precious. As for kids who recoil at the thought of reading anything longer than a comic book, the Bear and I both believe that the short, staccato style of the journal entries serves as an olive branch to non-readers while providing young seasoned vets with something fresh and unexpected from page to page. A literary win-win!
*****TRAVELS WITH GANNON AND WYATT GIVEAWAY TIME*****
Win the entire Travels with Gannon and Wyatt series (all three books, valued at a total of $38.85) by entering the giveaway below. Good luck! *Sorry Canada, this one is for U.S. residents only. a Rafflecopter giveaway
In the mood to keep on winning, or trying to win? Three Kindle Fires are being given away on the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt Facebook page in November. So hit that up too!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my ow