The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy by Clive Cussler
(Philomel Books, May 13, 2010)
The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy is a flavorful combination of adventure and youthful ingenuity.
This story begins with a magical machine in the shape of a small box, which is given to twins, Lacey and Casey Nicefolk, as a gift from a mysterious man who had helped out on their farm. This machine has the capability of changing any toy-sized object into one of life-sized proportions. Realizing the machine’s capability, Lacey and Casey try it out by enlarging a model wooden boat, one which they are determined to enter into the Gold Cup Grand National Race in San Francisco, California. But the twins are going to be getting more than what they bargained for in Hotsy Totsy. The boat has a mind of its own, with determination and spirit, and is simply magical.
With the twins’ goal in mind of winning the race, they neglect to see the evil that lurks in the darkness, threatening to stop them. A phantom black boat, which houses old enemies, soon surfaces and kidnaps the twins, taking them to the island of Alcatraz. However, help comes in the shape of their loyal dog, Floopy, and of course, Hotsy Totsy.
The twins are freed and begin and finish the race with an outcome so unexpected, that it causes the world to fall in love with them, because winning is not everything. What the twins discover in themselves is more than the satisfaction of crossing the finish line; it is the compassion, kindness, and unselfishness along the way that shows what true heroes are all about.
True to Clive Cussler’s love and knowledge of boats and adventure, he creates a wonderful tale in his first children’s book, a 192-page adventure filled with intrigue and suspense. Children of all ages will enjoy this middle-grade novel and will look forward to reading many more interesting adventures of the Nicefolk twins.
The one thing this reviewer would like to have learned more about was the adventures of Vin Fiz, which is an air plane that the twins first used the magic box on, making it life-size. It was on one of their adventures with Vin Fiz that the twins meet up with the villains from The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy. There is quite a bit of information in Hotsy Totsy which insinuates many things about a previous adventure that the reader knows very little about and the author keeps referring to, making this reviewer think that there was another children’s book out there that was a prequel to this one—which there is: The Adventures of Vin Fiz, published in 2006. Aside from the fact that this book should stand on its own and provide any missing information within its own covers, this reviewer enjoyed Hotsy Totsy.
Overall though, an enjoyable read.
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover Price: $14.99