I know what you are thinking. Where have I been? Why did I even agree to write a blog and then not post anything? And honestly you can’t even blame me for any of this. You know I am a slow reader, you know I have a more-than-full-time job. The only reason I had time to read this is because Julia read it to me while driving -for work! Oh hello everyone else. ……
So this is a book Robert and I read during our teenage years. I am claiming rereading it first. Since he is stealing all of our other childhood favourites.
Title: Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites
Series: The Tennis Shoes Adventure Series
Author: Chris Heimerdinger
Genre: LDS Fiction
Synopsis: Jim Hawkins, his sister Jenny, and their friend Garth Pimplton go on an adventure to a place they have ready about their whole lives, the Book of Mormon. They get to meet some of the hero they had ready about like Capitan Moroni, and Helaman. I would recommend this book to youth ages 9-11.
If you don’t know much about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint or Mormons I would recommend learning more before reading this book or sharing it with your friends. You can read this simply as a work of fiction, but its helpful to know how the author intended it.
I didn’t remember Jim being so annoying. He is a 12 year old who got into a little youthful trouble due to his association. His family reacts like most religious families and scolds him and alienates him for a whole summer. Jim was a bad boy, got into fights, dallied with smoking and drinking. Over the summer he met Garth, basically an alter boy, a do-gooder and a smart kid. Garth was one of the wimps that Jim would pick on at school but an offer to see ancient wall art no one else had ever seen softened him.
The duo attempt to find a mythical Rainbow Room in a local cave and are sucked into the setting of the Book of Mormon (the ancient Americas). Tagging along on this journey is Jenny, Jim’s younger sister. Jim meets many characters who would be his heroes. Captain Moroni, Teancum, and Helaman. I won’t spoil any more of the plot than that.
Jim seems like a pretty real person all-in-all. Everyone talks about if they lived in ancient times they would be so tough they would become a great hunter and fighter. But really if you were 12 you would probably just let real fighters and hunters do their job and watch from the distance. Garth in this book at least feels really flat along with Jenny. If you consider the POV (Point Of View) being Jim, how observant are preteen boys?
The story follows a very simply hero’s journey plot structure. Honestly it wasn’t bad, but it also could have been much better. The author knows his audience though and writes for Mormon youth who love the series and any kind of LDS fiction. Does this book and the other 12 in the series compare to non religious books for a similar audience and concept? I don’t know. But between Robert and I, we’ll find out. Let us know in the comments if you can recommend any books that appeal to young readers and involve time travel.