The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell

Image result for the king's fifthWhat would you do if you heard of a golden city? Attempt to find it? Destroy it? Ransack it? This is the question posed by Scott O’Dell in his book The King’s Fifth. In the book, we follow the adventures of Esteban de Sandoval, a young mapmaker who is part of an expedition to the new world.

While the party explores the new world, they encounter Indians, who are usually welcoming, but sometimes hostile. However, in almost every case, the party tricks or fights the Native Americans. They do this because they have heard of vast supplies of gold. The Indians think little of the gold, taking what they need but not much more, and wonder why the Spaniards are so devoted to the material. Later, they acquire a huge amount of gold, only to have most of the members of the expedition perish or depart. Sandoval, after commandeering the remainder of the group, ends up in prison for failing to give the King his share of the treasure.

Even though the adventures of the explorers are fictional, many of the themes are all too real. Spanish expeditions did, quite often, swindle and cheat Indians out of valuables, even resorting to violence if trickery was unsuccessful. They also traveled with no respect to the land, destroying forests and slaughtering wildlife. Another aspect that truly happened was the Spanish gold rush. Many crews and expeditions deviated from their purposes to search for cities of gold. Wild tales were told of people who ate from golden platters and wore gold clothing. In the end, Scott O’Dell’s book wonderfully gives a look into the exploration of early North America.

-Joshua M.

The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Holes by Louis Sachar

Image result for holesStanley Yelnats is under a derogatory curse. And it starts with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and it was passed down to the generations ever since. Being accused of larceny, Stanley has been sent to this boy detention center to dig holes that need to be exactly five feet wide and five feet deep.

I liked this book because it combines fun elements and thrilling details together. Imagine in a vast desert devoid of water and digging holes is all I do every single day would definitely suck my marrow out of my bones before I even start. Especially when Stanley didn’t actually steal the shoes, but socializing with rattlesnakes and lizards would prove that this is an inhumane place for unordinary humans. And, I am an ordinary person.

Titled by the name Camp Green Lake with no lakes really twitches my nose and my even my nerves are amused by this. Stanley also met all sorts of companions with unique names like Zeroni, Theodore, and Ignor. But there is something for Stanley to excavate beneath the holes that will surely force your consciousness out of your corporal body for a while.

-April L.

Holes by Louis Sachar is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive