Monday, February 10, 2014

Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback / Michael L. Thal

This is the first half of a doubleshot review. Check back this afternoon for ?wazithinkin's take on the same book.

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy/Mystery

Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


A school teacher turned freelance author, Michael Thal has had over seventy articles published by magazines and newspapers including Highlights for Children and The Los Angeles Times. This is his third book, the others being The Legend of Koolura (the first in the series) and Goodbye Tchaikovsky. (Did I mention he was also one of our Pals?)

For more, visit Michael’s website.


“Koolura has the ability to teleport, levitate, heal, and even fly. But at Camp Saddleback, Koolura wakes up drained and powerless. Who or what has stolen her psychic powers?

As Koolura searches for the truth about her power loss, she and the Chumash Girls have to deal with pranksters ruining their cabin and destroying their summer. Campers plan revenge but problems escalate as lives are threatened. Will Koolura and the Chumash Girls solve the mystery at Camp Saddleback?”


Koolura is cool. Part of this is because she has superpowers, although she keeps those hidden from most people. But mostly it is her personality and approach to life which is appealing to both the adults around her and her peers. She’d be cool, even without her powers.

This is a fun read for middle graders with some adventure and a few mysteries to be solved. Plus, what kid that age isn’t into super powers? But amid the mystery and adventure are some subtle life lessons for kids to learn without realizing they’re doing so including some schooling on trust, empathy, and the importance of accepting people for who they are, even those who are different from you.


Although the second in a series, enough of the backstory needed to understand this book is given to read it as a stand-alone book.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of proofing and copyediting issues.

Rating: **** Four stars

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