Arcade and the Fiery Metal Tester

Zonderkidz. (Coin Slot Chronicles: Bk. 3). Feb. 2020. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780310767459.
Gr 4-6–Arcade and his sister Zoe are back in this third entry in the “Coin Slot Chronicles.” This time, Arcade receives a mysterious message telling him, “Things will heat up in all areas to test your mettle.” No kidding! It’s a record hot New York City summer, and his parents want the siblings to set some character-building goals during their school vacation. Once Arcade’s backpack gets stolen in the subway, the adventures come fast and furious. Zipping all over the world once his token is slipped into the slot in glowing elevator doors, Arcade struggles to make sense of his role in many situations. Life is further complicated by the impending move of his best friend Doug (a baby flamingo with a serious shrimp habit), a test score scandal at school, and his dog getting lost in the internet in the future—or is it the past? The parent-child relationships are warm and supportive and (save a few minor squabbles) so is the sibling one. Arcade tries hard to do what is best in every situation while remembering his goal-setting promise. The family’s faith is a consistent thread throughout.
VERDICT An intriguing premise that gets overcomplicated with too many plot threads makes this a well-meaning, but confusing read. Recommended only where the previous books have enjoyed a healthy circulation.

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