Rating: 4 stars
Courtney Sheinmel of “Stella Batts” fame is branching out and has penned a book that both boys and girls will enjoy. “Zacktastic” is perfect for middle grade kids who are reading at a bit higher level than the girls who enjoy the “Stella Batts” series. It’s about Zack, who just turned ten, and has an itchy big toe. It turns out that the itchy big toe is proof that he is a genie.
Although Zack’s father died in a car accident, his “Uncle Max” is there to tell Zack about his heritage and help him with his newfound powers. When Zack gets zapped away on his first assignment, early and with no training, he must try his best to figure out what to do with only the most basic of advice from Uncle Max.
Zack’s life has always been made more difficult by the presence of his twin sister, the pretty and popular Quinn. In comparison, Zack has no friends and no social life. Quinn seems to do everything better than Zack, but she is no genie. When Zack accidentally frees a powerful (but evil) genie, he has some very difficult decisions to make.
Zack changes over the course of the story. At the beginning of the story, he is afraid of everything, but by the end he has learned that he is capable and can be brave. It’s a touching story that is full of adventure and fantasy.
Sheinmel’s expertise in writing books that young readers will enjoy is evident in every page. It’s the first in a series, so make sure to have this as part of your book collection, be it at home, in the classroom or in a library.
Please note: This review is based on the paperback book provided by Sleeping Bear Press for review purposes.