Jack Zulu and the Waylanders Key, book cover

Jack Zulu and the Waylander’s Key is a compelling portal fantasy with a 13-year-old hero facing lots of odds. It’s written by an author well known in the homeschooling community, S.D. Smith (“rabbits with swords”) and his son J.C. Smith.

Our hero, Jack Zulu, has lost his policeman father, and his mother lies slowly dying. But he has a close friend, Benny, and a mentor, Mr. Wheeler. It’s Mr. Wheeler who introduces him to fantasy books in his little bookstore, books that tell strong tales of somewhere else.

So, how can Jack make a future for himself? He excels at baseball and just about any other athletic endeavor. In fact, he’s respected by most grownups in his little North Carolina town. Will baseball be enough to make his future?

It’s Mr. Wheeler who turns out to be the person linking Jack’s world to another. There’s a special grove of trees in the town park, and … well, I’ll stop to avoid spoilers.

This is an exciting, high-action, family-friendly story with some very evil dudes as bad guys. In this world, bad is bad and good is good. It’s a very moral universe, highly suited for picky homeschoolers.

I’ll give it five stars. And get ready to pick up the sequel, which has just come out.

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