Starring Sam and his much-loved companion Spot the dog, Leonardo Deangelo’s fast-paced adventure novel for young boys takes young readers on an intense journey through time and into a world of menacing dinosaurs, evil wizards and time travelers.
When Sam wakes up one Saturday morning, he’s in the mood for adventure. Luckily, he owns an old book and a mirror with magical properties. When he reads a story about a lost world of time travelers, primitive tribes, strange beasts and volcanoes, he has only to recite a few magic worlds to be transported with Spot into the story’s setting.
Sam quickly learns that The Lost Valley is a dangerous, pre-historic world where vicious Velociraptors battle with massive T. Rex dinosaurs and every new cave is home to a more terrifying surprise than the one before. It is in one of those caves that they discover Captain Ernesto and his band of lost travelers. The Star Trek-like company is locked in battle with an evil wizard sent to The Lost Valley in punishment. He wants nothing more than to steal Sam’s magical mirror and return to his homeland to exact revenge.
The Lost Valley is rollicking, action-packed and at times violent; Sam and Spot are fearless and honorable. That said, the book suffers from a lack of editing. Descriptions are repetitive and lack variety. (For instance, when we meet the animals Slick and Tiger, we are told three times in one paragraph that they are the pets of Captain Ernesto and his crew.) Also, Sam takes actions and makes decisions that move the plot forward but don’t always make sense (such as when he walks into yet another terrifying cave; how many times does this boy need to be told how dangerous it is out there?)
The Lost Valley is imaginative, but the novel requires copyediting and polish in order to keep readers deeply engaged and reach its potential.