In The Lost Celt by A. E. Conran, history, Celtic myth, returning war vets with PTSD, issues of bullying, and family values are all rolled into one great book for middle-grade readers. Conran handles all the themes with compassion and humor, weaving a tale of intrigue, adventure, and danger, which is sure to please her target audience, their parents, and military families everywhere.
Fourth graders Mikey and Kyler are typical boys and exceptional video gamers, spending hours playing Romanii, a war game between the opposing forces of ancient Romans and Celts. Mikey is in the VA hospital one evening when he glimpses what he believes to be a Celtic warrior. Based on the man’s actions, dress, and appearance, Mikey figures that the man must be a time-traveler, clearly from the same time frame as his video game. As the boys investigate, they rely in part on Mikey’s Vietnam veteran grandfather as well as their knowledge gleaned from their game.
From first to last page, this book pulls you in and pulls you along on a page-turning adventure with twists and turns and roundabouts. Along the way, you can’t help but learn about compassion, understanding, and the importance of family. The topic of PTSD is introduced and explained in a way that middle graders will understand. The same applies to the issue of bullying. If you’re not careful, you might even pick up some history as you read.
MWSA Reviewer: Betsy Beard
Written in the voice of Mikey, a fourth-grader who believes that eating crunchy things will get your neurons to fire, The Lost Celt follows Mikey's adventures after a chance encounter with what he thinks is a time-traveling Celtic warrior.
With the help of his best friend Kyler, and clues from his military history book, Mikey tracks down the stranger, and in the process learns about the power and obligations of friendship.
Full of heart, The Lost Celt throws a gentle light on some of the issues facing our veterans and their families, but it's the humor and infectious camaraderie throughout this book that makes it so memorable.