Once Upon A Romance

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Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise by Erica Rodgers

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Cover art: Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise
Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise - 4th in the Camp Club Girls series
Author: Erica Rodgers
Publisher: Barbour
ISBN-13: 978-1-60260-270-0
Release Date: March 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Youth/Tween Inspirational Fiction
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 9-12
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 8-12
Year/Setting: Present day, California
Overall Rating: 4.5
Camp Club Girls Website/Blog: www.campclubgirls.com


The Camp Club Girls are back and, this time, in the home of Alexis who is a resident of Sacramento, California. Its summertime and school is out, and Alexis is so excited because another of the girls – Kate – is flying to her house to spend some time with her.

There’s a very specific mission for Alexis and Kate. In town, there’s a wonderful park that offers almost every plant, tree, and flower that the Earth has to offer. The botanical garden is simply beautiful. But the owner, Miss Maria, is losing money. Tourists are much more interested in visiting Disneyland than looking at a bunch of plants. So, a brilliant idea hits. Miss Maria decides to buy some animatronic dinosaurs to put into the park, hoping to bring back the tourists and save her beloved attraction from foreclosure. Kate and Alexis go to see Miss Maria and, while there, get told by a visitor that he’s absolutely enthralled by the dinosaur footprints and the way the dinosaurs are set up by the springs and pools, making them look like they’re actually drinking.

Miss Maria goes to investigate. The reason she’s so upset by the man’s words, is that she knows she didn’t place dino footprints in her park, and immediately notices that someone has moved the animatronic beasts to new locations. Taking a fall, Miss Maria ends up in the hospital with pulled muscles and asks Alexis and Kate to watch the park while she’s laid up. She needs to see if they can solve the mystery of who, exactly, is breaking into the park at night and moving her dinos.

A not very nice reporter named Thad Swotter appears at the park who works for Channel 13. He laughs at the kids, letting them know that no one in their right mind wants to come to this silly, out of the way park and look at leaves. But…he DOES start reporting on the strange goings on; even airing a live report showing that the dinosaurs DO seem to be moving all by themselves…making their way to different areas of the park.

Soon visitors and tourists descend on Miss Maria’s peaceful gardens like a flock of pterodactyls. They want nothing more than to see how these plastic, fake dinosaurs came to life. Unfortunately, with the added extra people, the park is quickly being destroyed; the rush of tourists are so wrapped up in the dinosaur mystery that they’re stomping, walking, treading over, breaking, and literally killing all the flowers, bushes, and trees. Kate and Alexis, as well as the other Camp Club Girls over the internet, team up together to solve the mystery of how, exactly, prehistoric creatures could possibly have come back to life.

Adorable, adorable, adorable; there are no words better suited to describe this series of books. And, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this series offers such wonderful words and lessons about God’s love. Truly a perfect series for children to read, and that the whole family can share!

Until next time, Amy

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