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Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Please use this sub-forum to discuss both middle-grade and younger children's books, including picture books, easy readers, and children's chapter books. Topics for books aimed at children 12 and under go in this forum.

Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#1 by bookowlie
» 03 Nov 2017, 11:46

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Jewelled Jaguar" by Sharon Tregenza.]

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2 out of 4 stars
Review by bookowlie
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The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza is a 216-page children’s book set in the English county of Pembrokeshire. Griffin’s mother gets sucked into a sinkhole under their house. While she is in a coma, Griffin is sent to live with Uncle Rhodri and his family. His uncle speculates that the sinkhole occurred because of an Aztec knife that Griffin’s mother found ten years earlier. The knife, known as the Jewelled Jaguar, is connected to a shipwreck from a few hundred years ago, and Uncle Rhodri thinks it is cursed.

The author has a nice writing style which is suitable for children ages 9-12. The short chapters are ideal for children who want to read a few chapters at a time. The writing is easy to understand, with no overly sophisticated words.

The characters are fleshed out well and I could clearly picture each of them. Griffin is a likable boy who has to get used to living with his eccentric relatives in their creepy old house. Dr. Blythe Merrick is an interesting supporting character. Although he is an old friend of Griffin’s mother and uncle, there is a subtle sense that there is more to him than meets the eye. Uncle Rhodri’s dilapidated old house, known as the Spike, provides a spooky setting with bats, nearby caves, and strange noises. The imagery is so clear that I felt like I was right there in the house, listening to the scary noises.

My main problem with this book is that the plot is not very cohesive. I found it difficult to determine what the central plot was through a large part of the story. In the beginning, it seemed that the Aztec knife was going to be the primary storyline, but it gets thrown to the back burner for long stretches. Most of the book focuses on Griffin’s adjustment to living with his uncle’s family, and going exploring with his cousin Cinnamon. There is no sense of a main plot moving forward. Instead, there are disjointed chapters about the children playing, the knife going on display, visits to see Griffin’s mother in the hospital, Cinnamon’s pet rat, etc.

The relationship between Griffin and Cinnamon is mainly what kept me interested, as the random plot points don’t gel until the latter sections of the story. The ending is certainly exciting and the author ties up the loose ends. Still, a tighter plot along the way would have made for more enjoyable reading.

I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. The well-drawn characters and vivid setting were not enough to offset a weak plot. I would recommend this book to children ages 9-12 who enjoy reading about interesting characters and don’t mind waiting for a clear plot to emerge.

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The Jewelled Jaguar
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#2 by gali
» 03 Nov 2017, 15:30

Griffin’s mother gets sucked into a sinkhole? Poor woman! The premise sounds interesting. Too bad it wasn't executed as well as it could have been done. Great review as always!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#3 by bookowlie
» 03 Nov 2017, 16:23

Thanks Gali! The story had a lot of potential.
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#4 by kandscreeley
» 03 Nov 2017, 18:06

Even with great characters, I don't think I could wait that long for the plot to emerge. Still, in that age range, perhaps some of the kids won't mind. Thanks bookowlie!
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#5 by MsTri
» 03 Nov 2017, 18:25

Sounds like it had such promise with a premise like that; too bad it fell off the path and went on a lot of bunny trails (as a former friend used to say) and doesn't come back together until the end of the book. Now I'm on the fence whether to check it out or not.
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#6 by bookowlie
» 03 Nov 2017, 20:15

Thanks Kandscreeley and MsTri for the feedback. MsTri - It's so true that it went off track, although I am not sure it was really on a a path to begin with...at least, until much later in the book.
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#7 by Jayson M Magno
» 04 Nov 2017, 08:37

The book must need to keep it up more👍🏻
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#8 by kislany
» 04 Nov 2017, 13:40

An interesting book for kids. I'm not sure it's one I would enjoy, but the review was excellent.
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#9 by bookowlie
» 05 Nov 2017, 10:20

Thanks Jayson M Magno and Kislany. There were some very creative descriptions in the story which reminded me of the Harry Potter series.
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#10 by Mtsweni Nelsy
» 05 Nov 2017, 12:53

It can be really hard to get the picture of what you are reading if the plot of the story is not well-defined. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#11 by HouseOfAtticus
» 06 Nov 2017, 06:27

A lovely review. You put very interesting points forward.
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#12 by Lincolnshirelass
» 06 Nov 2017, 06:58

Pardon me for being pedantic, but Pembrokeshire is in Wales!
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#13 by K_Robinson
» 07 Nov 2017, 08:39

I think a child may not care as much with reading a loose plot, as long as the content is exciting and keeps their attention! It sounds like an interesting kids book!
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#14 by ashley_claire
» 07 Nov 2017, 08:41

Too bad the plot seemed to suffer on this one. It sounds like an interesting idea and I can see the cover drawing kids in to learn more about the book. At that age I'm not sure vivid characters are enough to hold their attention.
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Re: Official Review: The Jewelled Jaguar by Sharon Tregenza

Post Number:#15 by bookowlie
» 07 Nov 2017, 12:58

Lincolnshirelass wrote:Pardon me for being pedantic, but Pembrokeshire is in Wales!


Yes, I know that Pembrokeshire is in Wales. I thought saying "the English county of" encompassed the U.K. I guess I should have been more specific and said in Wales instead.

-- 07 Nov 2017, 14:01 --

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read my review and leave a comment.
K. Robinson - I agree that kids might be not as picky about reading a loose plot. The creative descriptions might satisfy them.
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