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Middleworld (The Jaguar Stones, Book One) Paperback – April 27, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Jaguar Stones Series

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

More Praise for MIDDLEWORLD:

"A simply awesome read. Different to any book I've read because of all the Maya information. I definitely look forward to the next two books in the series!"
--Flamingnet Book Reviews - Top Choice Award

"Kids will love the twists and turns of the story, and cheer along with Max as he rescues his parents, gets the girl (well, gets the girl as his best friend)and saves the K'in (the Mayan word for day). Parents will love what the book provides to their teens: a glimpse into the world of archeology, an educational look at another culture and several valuable life lessons."
--Upper Valley Life Magazine

"I predict this trilogy will be popular with fans of Anthony Horowitz, Roland Smith, and even Harry Potter fans... Plenty of action and humour will keep readers on the edge of their seats."
--Teens Read Too - Five Star Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Here are some more things you should know before you read on . . . The Ancient Maya called our world Middleworld, because it was sandwiched between the upper world of the heavens and the underworld, which they called Xibalba.
The Jaguar Stones are fictional, as are all the main characters except for Friar Diego DeLanda. He was the true-life Spanish priest who, in 1562, reduced the sum of Ancient Maya knowledge to ashes by making one huge bonfire of all their hundreds of folding bark books. (As far as we know, only three books and a fragment of a fourth survived.)
San Xavier is a fictional country based on present-day Belize. Maya or Mayan? We have followed the scholarly precedent of using Maya as both noun and adjective to describe the people and their culture, reserving the word Mayan for the family of thirty languages still spoken by the six million Maya living in Central America today. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA; Revised edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606840711
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606840719
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on November 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The thrilling scenes of this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's like the book is pulling you into the ancient Maya world. When the book was over, I was pining for a sequel.J&P Voelkel are two extremely talented writers. I recommend this book for all ages! It is Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter rolled into one book that will have your eyes popping out. It includes action, mystery, romance and fantasy: the recipe for a good book. This is one of the best books I've ever read.
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Format: Hardcover
Husband and wife team Jon and Pamela Voelkel have created a tale set in the Central American rain forest. The story focuses on the Maya culture and traditions as the characters battle to prevent the evil forces of an ancient empire from destroying today's world.

In MIDDLEWORLD readers meet Max Murphy. His parents are archaeologists. He is sick of the old pottery and ancient artifacts that are forever causing his parents to head off to foreign countries. Max is always left in Boston to fend for himself with the help of Zia, their housekeeper. Max would like a little adventure -- as long as it involves pizza and video games. Adventure begins for Max when Zia informs him that plans have changed this time. Instead of heading off to a wilderness camp in Maine, Max is being sent to San Xavier to join his parents.

Max arrives in San Xavier only to find that Mr. and Mrs. Murphy have disappeared. Uncle Ted becomes Max's instant guardian, and the search for his parents begins. At the time of their disappearance, they were exploring an ancient Maya pyramid deep in the rain forest. All that's left is Mr. Murphy's jacket and Mrs. Murphy's earring. Max soon finds himself lost in the rain forest that may be responsible for his parents' death.

As the story unfolds, readers will learn quite a bit of Maya history. Hidden pyramids and ruins are scattered throughout the rain forest, and each holds mysterious treasures and secrets of the ancients and how they may still have powers in the modern world. The adventure is filled with crazy characters, secret passageways and hidden chambers, Maya traditions and superstitions, talking monkeys, and blood-thirsty warriors. The mysterious Jaguar Stones hold the power to change the world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The main kid is annoying throughout 95% of the book. The first chapter I thought I could side with him but then it quickly became clear that he needs siblings to off balance the needy behavior of being the center of attention or a healthy dose of discipline which he gets later during his unbelievable adventures in the Mayan world. Household think he would learn his lessons but he does not quite grasp the concept of appreciating what he has, just when you think he would get it he ends up not learning his lesson. I do not know if the author intentionally wrote about a spoiled brat kid but I had to force myself to finish this book just because of the "mysteries" the author presented in the story.
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Format: Paperback
This is a rare book that is action/adventure without being too heavy on the fantasy. There are some fantasy elements, but they're worked into the story to be more realistic than fantasy. I think this one will have great tween appeal. It doesn't take too long for the adventure to start and once it does, it doesn't slow down. There's a lot of Maya history packed into the book which I think readers who enjoy facts will appreciate. This might even be a fiction book that your usual non-fiction readers will pick up.

The book is somewhat long (almost 400 pages) and while I thought some of that could have been cut down, my tween readers don't seem to mind long books. The ending wraps some things up, but leaves it open for more and I believe this is set to be a trilogy.

As an adult, I found it somewhat annoying that there were pronunciation's thrown into the text for every Maya word-I would have preferred a glossary, but I can see where this would be helpful to younger readers. Also, I thought some of the adventure was too coincidental, but again, I'm sure younger readers will overlook this and instead be caught up in the adventure of the story.

I liked how the book mixed history with adventure. The blurb on the back calls Middleworld "Percy Jackson meets Indiana Jones" and I have to agree (although I could see this having appeal to the readers who enjoyed The Red Pyramid because of the archeology aspects). It also reminded me a bit of the Journey to the Center of the Earth movie. A fun start to a new series, give this to tweens looking for a new adventure series.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I teach the uppermost reading group in fourth grade. The students love this series and read it quickly. I highly recommend the series. I contacted the authors for teacher's support information which was very interesting and helpful. I am moving to fifth grade and plan to use this series again - excellent entrance into Mayan culture...kids really interested in this subject.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jon and Pamela Voelkel have created a tale set in the Central American rain forest. This is a great adventure story. A great tween book full of action. It has a lot of ancient Mayan history facts that wove through out the adventure. Max Murphy's parents are archaeologists that leave Boston to go to San Xavier to study the Mayan archaeology. With the help of Zia, their housekeeper, Max is sent to San Xavier. When he arrives he meets his Uncle Ted and finds his parents missing. The adventure has begun. The mysterious Jaguar Stones are at the heart of Max's journey to find his parents.
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