Book Title & Alexandra's Review

The ‘Ranger in Time’ Series, Books 1 – 5 by Kate Messner

I’ve been meaning to read these books for a while now. A historical fiction series about a search-and-rescue dog who travels through time to save people in need. Genius!  If you’re a fan of the I Survived Series and a dog lover, you’ll love Ranger and his adventures through time.

3rd Grade and Up


Rescue on the Oregon Trail (Ranger in Time #1)

Ranger has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog but can’t officially pass the test because he’s always getting distracted by squirrels during exercises. One day, he finds a mysterious first aid kit in the garden and is transported to the year 1850, where he meets a young boy named Sam Abbott. Sam’s family is migrating west on the Oregon Trail, and soon after Ranger arrives he helps the boy save his little sister. Ranger thinks his job is done, but the Oregon Trail can be dangerous, and the Abbotts need Ranger’s help more than they realize!


You don’t absolutely have to read this series in order, but you definitely need to read this book first to get an understanding of how the story works. How the mysterious first aid kit works is not explained and, from what I can tell, will not be explained anytime in the near future. My guess is it’s just magic.


The author, Kate Messner, does not skimp on the details one bit.  From eating bacon and beans cooked over a fire of buffalo dung to the threat of catching a deadly disease, everything you’d ever want to learn about the Oregon Trail is right in this book.


In my opinion, the thousands of people who set out on the Oregon Trail were crazy. I also think they were incredibly brave to make that trip on the Oregon Trail. The odds of them surviving was very low and the only reason they were going was because they thought they could have a better life.


Danger in Ancient Rome (Ranger in Time #2)

Ranger travels to the Colosseum in ancient Rome, where there are gladiator fights and wild animal hunts! Ranger befriends Marcus, a young boy Ranger saves from a runaway lion, and Quintus, a new volunteer gladiator who must prove himself in the arena. Can Ranger help Marcus and Quintus escape the brutal world of the Colosseum?


After reading the Author’s Note, I learned a little about what historians have discovered from ancient ruins. Quote: “Historians believe the gladiator fights may have been a way for the emperor to keep control of his citizens.” Basically, the emperor used the ‘games’ as a way to distract everyone from how much their lives stunk. Why people thought it was entertaining to watch people fight and kill each other is beyond me. Then again, from what I can tell, there wasn’t much else to do back then.


Long Road to Freedom (Ranger in Time #3)

Ranger goes to a Maryland plantation during the days of American slavery, where he meets a young girl named Sarah. When she learns that the owner has plans to sell her little brother, Jesse, to a plantation in the Deep South, it means they could be separated forever. Sarah takes their future into her own hands and decides there’s only one way to run…north.


I’m impressed how many people were willing to help Sarah, Jesse, and many other slaves and all the ways they hid them from the slave catchers. It just goes to show that anything can be done if you’re determined enough.


Also, why is it called the Underground Railroad? There’s no train and it’s not underground. And as I’m writing this, I’m thinking it might be because there are many stops you would have to take, similar to train stops, and ‘underground’ means it’s a secret.


Ranger joins an early twentieth-century expedition journeying from New Zealand to Antarctica. He befriends Jack Nin, the stowaway turned cabin boy of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ship. They’re racing against a rival explorer to reach the South Pole, but with unstable ice, killer whales, and raging blizzards, the journey turns into a race against time… and a struggle to stay alive.


This is the most suspenseful, stressful, nerve-wracking Ranger story yet. From the crevasse rescues to broken-up ice stranding, the terror never ends.


My favorite part of the story is when Ranger sees penguins for the first time. He’s so confused by these strange noisy birds that don’t fly away. So cute.


Ranger goes to Viking age Iceland, which proves to be tough terrain for Ranger to navigate. Usually it’s Ranger’s job to save the day before he can return to his family, but he meets a girl named Helga who rescues him more than once. And when a nearby volcano threatens to erupt and Helga’s new baby brother or sister starts to come early, they must journey through ash and smoke to find Helga’s father. But if Helga doesn’t need Ranger’s help, how will he ever get home?


Compared to the life or death ice cold adventure from the last book, this story is pretty tame.


Just like it says above, Helga doesn’t seem to need any saving. Back then, you had to be tough or you died.


If you thought the last couple of books had some hard to pronounce words, this story has all of them beat. Here’s an example of a few of them: Thrihnukagigur. Dyrholaey. Reykjavik. Luckily, I have a pronunciation app that help me translate.


This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about the Oregon Trail

More than 2,000 miles of trails and grooves left by pioneers can still be seen along the Oregon National Historic Trail today.


Tune in next Saturday for ‘Ranger in Time’ Series, Books 6 – 10!

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