When Arlo and his sister are dragged to the small town high in the mountains of Colorado where their mom grew up, it’s a last resort for all of them. Arlo certainly isn’t expecting an adventure, but that’s exactly what he gets! Right away, Arlo learns things are different in Pine Mountain. Not only is his uncle’s dog a ghost, but the woods are full of magical beetles that spew sticky, purple goo and rabbits with horns called jackalopes. Things turn ominous when the reflection of a girl in his bedroom window warns Arlo of danger. Lucky for Arlo, he joins a scouting troop called the Rangers where the boys and girls learn to harness the mysterious, wild magic living in the forest. I enjoyed watching Arlo's courage grow as the novel progressed and the smart resourcefulness of his friends in the Rangers. Arlo Finch in The Valley of Fire has everything middle grade readers love, from magic and outdoor adventure to eccentric grownups and laughs. Highly recommended for kids 8-12 and anyone who wishes they lived a bit closer to a magical forest!— Jenny Chou
Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire is the first book in a spellbinding fantasy adventure series by screenwriter John August.
Some trails lead to magic. Some lead to danger.
As Arlo looked around, the walls of his room began to vanish, revealing a moonlit forest. Only his bed remained, and the frame of his window, through which he saw the girl. The world on her side of the glass was sparkling with silver and gold, like a palace made of autumn leaves.
She looked off to her right. Someone was coming. Her words came in an urgent whisper: "If I can see you, they can see you . . . Be careful, Arlo Finch."
Arlo Finch thought becoming a Ranger meant learning wilderness skills, like camping and knots. But upon arriving in the tiny town of Pine Mountain, Colorado, Arlo soon learns there's so much more. His new friends Indra and Wu teach him how to harness the wild magic seeping in from the mysterious Long Woods--a parallel realm of wonder and danger.
First he must master the basics, including snaplights, thunderclaps and identifying supernatural creatures. But Arlo Finch is no ordinary Ranger, and this is no ordinary time. A dark and ancient force is sending threats into the real world . . . our world.
Through perilous adventures and close calls, Arlo is awakened to his unique destiny--but the obstacles he faces will test the foundations of the Ranger's Vow: loyalty, bravery, kindness, and truth.
About the Author
John August is a screenwriter whose credits include Big Fish, Charlie's Angels, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, and Frankenweenie. He is also the creator of the Writer Emergency Pack, an educational storytelling school distributed to more than two thousand classrooms worldwide. Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, John now lives in Los Angeles with his family.