MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Whizbang Machine by Danielle A. Vann

The Whizbang Machine
ISBN: 9781943847921
Publisher's Synopsis:
After years of running from his tragic past, Jack Yale books a flight home. With him is a typewriter that is intended to be a gift for his granddaughter, Elizabeth. The minute Elizabeth’s fingers cradle the large black and cream keys the machine responses: popping, sizzling, and roaring to life with a Whiz-Whiz-BANG! Elizabeth quickly discovers the typewriter has powers beyond anything she has ever seen. The more she types, the more the machine spells out guarded secrets that need to be revealed in order to set history straight and remove a curse that has been on their family for centuries. To solve the mystery, Elizabeth Yale, alongside Jack, will have to crack the code of the Whizbang Machine. What they find challenges their most basic assumptions of their family, the history of the typewriter, and even Elizabeth’s father’s death. The ultimate goal is to remove the curse. The question is: will Jack and Elizabeth be able to carry out their mission?

"Everything changed the sweltering summer of 2007"
MrsK's Review:
When Elizabeth was fifteen, she was waiting for her grandfather while typing her English paper. She is a writer, a writer who loves the sound of the keys and the "hum" of her light blue electric typewriter (I can relate to her satisfaction!). It had been eight years since her father had died, since her grandfather had sold Yale's Shelves (a book store her family had owned for fifty years), and since she had seen him (only his travel postcards kept her informed). She had no idea that in two days she would be traveling with her grandfather on a quest to Casablanca, Morocco.

What begins as a small "tingly" sensation as she reached for a box in her grandfather's storage soon becomes an "explosion of thunder" (it helped that there was a storm outside). Lying inside of a tan case was a vintage typewriter. Of course this wasn't just any typewriter, nope, it had been securely locked... and it was seated in "red plush velvet," which to any writer means a typewriter of distinction.
"Positioning my fingers among the keys,
they rested for half a second before the machine screamed to life.
Whiz-Whiz, BANG!"
From that moment on, Elizabeth would be on a quest to find the rightful owner. Although, as in any well written quest, there would be moments of pain... fear... life-threatening foes... heart-racing chases... and a few visions that will haunt and spur Elizabeth through the streets of Morocco.

As an educator, I couldn't ask for a better "on the edge" story line. Sharing certain portions of the story caused hands to fly up for ownership. As a reader, I experienced trepidation every time Elizabeth had to touch the keys. I was exhausted and angry with her grandfather for placing leading her into danger. I was pulling for her to get beyond this quest and just go home. I didn't want to read another word, and yet... I was compelled to enter into the chaos once more.
Enjoy this treasure of a story,
"There's something romantic about writing on an old typewriter... 
Uniquely Enjoyable!
An excellent choice for any 3rd-5th grade reader.
Meet the Author:
  Danielle A. Vann grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As the only child, she loved to write stories and create wild characters at an early age. That love of writing sparked her career in journalism. She was a news reporter and anchor before she married her husband, Todd. After having three children, the idea of writing children’s books intrigued her. Her best source of inspiration is often her children’s zany antics. When she isn’t writing you can find her in digging in her organic garden, running and training for the next race, or playing chef in her kitchen. She currently lives in Mansfield, Texas.
"This book was sent to me by the author for this honest review."

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