Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Review of Berenson Schemes #3: Jack at the Helm

Berenson Schemes #3: Jack at the Helm
by Lisa Doan
Illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic
Expected Publication April 1, 2015
Lerner Classroom
152 Pages
Review copy provided by Blueslip Media

In this third installment Jack's parents continue their streak of continuously losing Jack. Despite his attempts at educating them on how to be good parents, they have decided to start a new religion, Nosnereb, in Nepal. As has happened in previous Berenson Schemes, careful, level-headed Jack gets separated from his parents. This time he is with Harry, a free-spirited teenager who is trying to "find himself" by traveling around the world. Harry and Jack are about as opposite as two people can be. Yet, they need to work together as they try to get to "Sangrilala" and Jack's parents.
As they travel down a river, the two must face crocodiles, navigate rapids, boulders and waterfalls. Through it all a special bond is formed as the two learn more about each other and themselves. 

My Thoughts
This book (and series) is delightful. I really enjoyed harry and Jack's relationship as they try to find Jack's parents. I think children will like Harry a lot with his laid-back style and his frequent use of the word "dude". There is a lot of action as the pair face challenges on the river. This quick pace will keep students engaged and wanting to know what will become of the boys. With text that is easy enough to read, but not too simple and a length of 152 pages, Jack at the Helm is perfect for students who are ready for chapter books that are a bit longer. There are a few entertaining pictures scattered throughout that readers will enjoy. 

I would recommend this book and series to any reader who likes Magic Tree House or Time Warp Trio books. Great for grades 2-4. 

Info about the Author

Lisa Doan is the author of The Berenson Schemes series – Jack the Castaway, Jack and the Wild Life and Jack at the Helm. She received a master’s degree in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her extensive travel in Africa and Asia and eight years spent living in the Caribbean were the basis for the series’ international settings. She has hatched her share of harebrained schemes, including backpacking alone from Morocco to Kenya, hitchhiking across the Sahara with Nigerian car dealers, sauntering off on an ill-advised, one-person walking safari, and opening a restaurant with no actual restaurant experience. Her occupations have included master scuba diving instructor, New York City headhunter, owner-chef of a “sort of Chinese-like” restaurant, television show set medic, and deputy prothonotary of a county court. Visit the author and download free, CCSS-aligned curriculum guides at

Other books in the Berenson Schemes series.

Jack the Castaway

Jack and the Wild Life

Follow along on the blog tour!
Just a Little Creativity     
The OWL for YA
Mar 4
Once Upon a Story
Mar 5
Kid Lit Frenzy
Mar 6
Children's Book Review
The Compulsive Reader
Books Unbound
Geo Librarian
The Late Bloomer's Book Blog
 Mar 13
Sharpread and The Hiding Spot

Enter below to win copies of all THREE books in the Berenson Schemes series!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Gigi - thank you so much for participating in this blog tour. I hope your students enjoy Jack's adventures more than he does!

    1. Loved it! So many will enjoy this series. Thank you for writing it!

  2. I'm looking forward to reading this series. I've added the paperback versions to my cart and wonder if your give away applies to Canada.