William Hertling is one of my favorite authors. His Singularity Series is one of my top Must Reads. I strongly encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already. Anyways, I recently discovered that Hertling had decided to write a book for kids – The Case of the Wilted Broccoli. I decided I needed to check it out and picked up a copy for my youngest daughter and me to read together.
At first blush, it seems surprising that Hertling would write a novel for kids given that his Singularity Series is clearly targeted at an adult audience. If you’re as curious as I was, this post on his blog will explain his reasons for doing so. For starters, Hertling has three children of his own and wanted to write something they could read, enjoy and learn from. Second, Hertling wanted to address topics that he felt kids should think about. Even though I had already decided to read the book, his reasons for writing it made me even more interested in reading it.
The plot of the story involves a sister and her two brothers trying to determine why people in their school are getting sick. As the title implies, the kids track down the source of the illness to the food in the cafeteria. To solve the mystery, they creatively combine information they’re learning in class with their science fair project. As with all of Hertling’s novels, there is lots of action woven together with technology. What I liked is how he explains and presents the technology in a way that his target audience will understand. In other words, kids in his target audience of 7-12 years old should have no problem relating to the plot and grasping the concepts presented. I would also suspect that they will be heavily entertained by the story, both the action and the interactions the kids have with the adults in the story. On top of that, they’ll likely learn a few non-technical things as well, like where their food comes from as an example.
Based on my personal experience, the Case of the Wilted Broccoli is a great book for both kids and adults. It makes for a great reading experience and covers material that you can talk about with your kids as you read the book. I found it to be a lot of fun, even though I’m still waiting for my youngest daughter to work her way through the book. It’s not that she isn’t enjoying it. She’s just been a little distracted by all the commotion surrounding the end of year holidays.
Bottom line, if you have kids of reading age in your house, I would highly recommend the book. As a bonus tip, I would encourage you to buy the book in paperback form if you’re purchasing it from Amazon. It’s only a couple dollars more than the Kindle version, which is included in your purchase of the paperback book. It allowed my daughter and me to read the book in parallel rather than having to wait for one of us to finish it.
Now it’s back to waiting for Hertling’s next installment in the Singularity Series, which I hear is on its way. It will surely jump to the top of my 2015 reading list as soon as it’s available. And while I’m excited about Book 4 of the Series, I’m also hoping that Hertling will continue his efforts and work on more children’s books as well.