Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Steel Trapp: The Challenge

Steel Trapp: The Challenge

Ridley Pearson
For ages 9 to 12
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: William Dufris
Brilliance Audio, 2008   ISBN: 978-1423338598

Steven “Steel” Trapp is thrilled to be going to Washington, D.C. where he will be competing in the National Science Challenge.  The journey on the train from Chicago to the nation’s capital promises to be rather boring, but the train hasn’t even left the station when strange things start to happen. Steel, who has the amazing ability to remember practically everything he sees, notices that a woman who came onto the train carrying a briefcase, gets off the train without the case. He tries to return the case to her, but she insists that it is not hers. One of the train conductors takes the briefcase and puts it in the baggage car.

   Steel cannot help wondering about the briefcase and he decides to go and look at it. Under the pretext that he wants to check on his dog, who is traveling in a crate in the baggage car, Steel is able to sneak a look in the case and he catches a glimpse of a photo of woman who is bound and gagged. She is clearly in terrible trouble and Steel begins to think that she is a kidnap victim. He can’t just stand by and do nothing. Steel hides the briefcase in his dog’s crate, which is when a girl comes of out hiding. Her name is Kaileigh and she has run away from home so that she can attend the National Science Challenge. Her entry for the Challenge was stolen and she is convinced that the thief will try to present it at the event.

   Steel decides that he has to try to keep the briefcase out of the hands of the man who is clearly trying to retrieve it so that it can be turned over to the police. Perhaps they can figure out who the woman is and save her before it is too late. It soon becomes clear that getting the briefcase into the right hands and out of the hands of the bad guys is not going to be easy. Soon United States marshals, FBI agents and others are all involved in the confusing case and Steel and Kaileigh realize that the stakes are a lot higher than they ever imagined.

   In this first Steel Trapp title Ridley Pearson gives his listeners a riveting tale that is full of tension and unexpected surprises. The story is told from several points of view and as the plot unfolds the different characters come together to give listeners a thrilling denouement.