Alison Dare is a 12-year-old adventurer. But that comes as no surprise when you look at her family tree: an archaeologist/adventurer for a mother, the masked hero known as the Blue Scarab for a father, even her uncle is an international super-spy. Despite the strict rules at the prestigious St. Joan’s Academy for Girls, Alison still thirsts for challenges.
Alison and her best pals – Wendy and Dot – somehow manage to find themselves involved in adventures that rival those of Alison’s globetrotting, planet-saving relatives. Whether it’s magic genies, super-powered bank robbers, or a dastardly baron bent on world domination, Alison Dare delivers the best thrills since Indiana Jones and more action than Lara Croft!
We had the chance to read up on Alison’s latest adventures in Tundra Books‘ Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden (age 8+) and Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventure (age 8+), graphic novels written by J. Torres and illustrated by J. Bones.
Both stories follow the exploits of the ever curious Alison, her eager to follow friend Dot, and her studious and sometimes reluctant participate Wendy. Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden consists of a few mini stories up front which give you an overall taste of the different characters you’ll encounter. The main story, The Heart of the Maiden, transports the girls into a world of secret tunnels and super ninja spies.
Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventure consists of three short miss-adventures: like what happens when Alison gets her hands on a magic lamp possessed by a mischievous genie or how her dad stumbles upon his magic powers as the Blue Scarab or how Alison tries to get her parents back together again and ends up foiling the evil plans of the Baron von Baron.
Both books are just shy of 100 pages, making them an easy and fun read. Even my 8-year-old daughter devoured these books fairly quickly. Once she started one adventure she couldn’t stop. The mini stories within each book as well as the books themselves can stand on their own so you don’t need to read them in a certain order. I’m a big fan of Indian Jones and the whole adventure genre. I loved that these stories followed along the same route but what I especially loved was that the main character was a strong and feisty girl. My daughter loved that part best too:
So many books for girls have girly characters in them. They’re concerned about clothes and boys and stuff. I love that Alison wears pants and gets dirty and hunts after mysteries. She’s cool. I think I’d love to be more like Alison, the part where she can solve mysteries. I think she’s a great book for girls because she shows girls they can do dangerous and adventurous stuff too. She’s a great role model for girls. I hope there are more Alison Dare books because she’s great.
I also loved J. Torres‘ tongue and cheek poke at the various other adventure stories, like Indiana Jones. You could see that in some of the book scenes (like Dr. Dare trying to escape a gang and yelling at her assistant to ‘start the plane’). These things may have been overlooked by my daughter (though she’s seen all the Indiana Jones films 5 or more times now), I couldn’t help but chuckle.
Alison Dare ventured over to our blog for a visit. It’s a good thing she’s always up for a challenge because her journey here was anything but smooth, from rock climbing to wrestling with the Greenopolis Spider to digging her way out of quicksand, Alison Dare eventually made it here to answer a few questions posed by my own adventurous 8-year old:
- What’s the scariest creature you’ve met when solving a mystery?
Mother Snake-perior! She (at least I think it was a she) posed as Mother Superior to infiltrate our school. Mother Superior is actually pretty scary on her own, so imagine a snake-eyed, hissing, scaly version…
- Would you invite your mom or dad or uncle to speak on Career day at your school? Why?
My mom went to St. Joan’s when she was a girl, so she’s actually participated in different events at school already. Dad was scheduled for Career Day last year but had to cancel last minute because… of… an overdue book emergency at the library where he works (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). Uncle Johnny is an international super spy and the first rule of being an international super spy is you do not talk about being an international super spy!
- If you could have one super power what would it be?
I would love the power to become invisible. It would make sneaking out a lot easier. Plus, I can eavesdrop on people. I mean, evildoers!
- How do you get your homework done with all your mystery solving?
Have you met my roommate Wendy? Can you say braniac? She helps me. A lot.
- Do you use any secret spy gadgets? Do you have a favourite?
I’m not allowed. I, uh, borrowed a grappling hook from my Uncle Johnny once, you know, to scale walls and stuff. I broke Sister Mary-Catherine’s bedroom window. Oops.
- What advice could you give an aspiring (8-year-old) mystery solver
Read a lot. Do push-ups. Nap whenever you can. But most of all… be daring!
Alison Dare is a great read for girls. My daughter has read and reread her two adventures while she holds out for more. And a book character that encourages girls to think for themselves, do what they want to do and take chances is a pretty good role model in my mind.
Alison Dare visited as part of Tundra Books‘ Double Dare Blog Tour. You can also catch her adventures today with Khy at the Frenetic Reader, Kristin at Bookworming in the 21st Century, and Jennifer at Jenn’s Bookshelves. The tour runs until June 18 so check the tour schedule to find out where else Alison will appear. You can also see my Top Ten Tuesday post: Top Ten Reasons Girls Should Read the Alison Dare Books.
No Alison Dare book tour would be complete without a dare and Tundra Books has a doozy. If you have the chops to enter you could walk away with 1 of 3 Alison Dare prize packs. Go on, enter. I dare you. No, I double-dog dare you.