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Monday, September 28, 2009

The Adventures of Vin Fiz

***½ The Adventures of Vin Fiz by Clive Cussler. Juvenile action/adventure.

I bought this for Camden, then when he was finished reading it, I put it in my TBR pile.

The story is about twins Casey and Lacey, who live on a farm. They meet a new hired hand, Mr. Sucoh Sucop (hint: read it backwards), and discover he's invented a magic mat that will turn their toys life-sized. So they try it out with their toy plane they call "Vin Fiz" and go on some adventures.

You'd think that with the name Clive Cussler on the cover, those adventures would be exciting. But they aren't, really. It reminds me a bit of Stuart Little, in the types of adventures, and in the way that there's no overarching plot to the book--it's just a series of things that happen. Actions have no consequences, and there's very little emotional component to any of the things the kids do.

The writing, as well, is rather stilted, something that surprised me after years of loving Cussler's grown-up fiction.

Camden liked it more than I did--he read it when he was 11--but even then, he said it was "good but not great." Which doesn't surprise me. I know kids can enjoy books and movies that don't follow the rules of good storytelling (like having a coherent, logical plot), but the more they experience well-constructed stories, the less they'll enjoy the poorly-constructed ones, even if they can't explain why.

And no, I absolutely do not mean that kids should be reading classics or award-winning books--far too many of which are dull or depressing. But there are a lot of better-written books for kids that are also fun.

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