Magic Tree House meets Whatever After in this fast-paced adventure set in the ancient land of the Mayans! Bubba and Squirt are siblings who seem perfectly normal, but they’re anything but. In truth, they have a magical shovel that transports them to places from the past. This time, they’re brought to an excavation site in the ancient city of Altun Ha that unearths rare artifacts. But there’s something odd going on in the sweat-slick jungles of Belize. Between legends of a terrible monster and artifacts mysteriously disappearing, Bubba and Squirt must play detective if they wish to get back home. Can brother and sister work together to unmask the mystery robbers—and still return home in time for dinner?
At once informational and entertaining, this book took me on a ride that made the jungles of Belize feel inherently real. The banter between Bubba and Squirt reminded me of the constant haggling between my own siblings. However, I felt it unrealistic at times. The citizens of Altun Ha talked about Mayans in the past tense, which didn’t make sense considering they were Mayans. Also, the archaeologists immediately trusted a foreign, teenage brother and sister to capture dangerous criminals. This, combined with the often passive narration and indiscernible points of view, caused me to lose interest in the book halfway through. However, it is still generally easy to follow and contains engaging information. I would recommend this to emerging readers seeking a book that blurs the lines between fiction and nonfiction.