Each day at lunchtime (when the days don’t get too crazy), I read a story out loud to the kids while they eat. We’ve read a number of different books, some which appeal to my younger children, and some which the older ones enjoy more. This fall, we read one that they all enjoyed: The Secrets of the Cheese Syndicate by Donna St. Cyr.
Talk about an adventure story! Written for 8 – 12 year olds, this book is the story of Robert Montasio, who must go on a quest to find the Mystic Cheese of Eliki. Not only does he need it to help his shrinking little sister, but hopefully it will lead him to his long-lost father as well. With the help of the members of the Cheese Syndicate, this ordinary boy ventures out on an extraordinary mission.
What makes this book so unique is its creative and unusual blend: cheese and Greek mythology. Who would guess the two could go together? Robert’s biggest obstacles are mythological creatures, such as the chimera and the gorgon. He must get past each of them before he can face his final foe, the manticore. As Robert moves along, he discovers that the various types of cheeses help him in different ways.
If you are a more conservative homeschooler, this may not be the book for you. The creatures are from Greek mythology; there are no Christian references. Though there are no magic spells, it does contain fanciful elements, such as talking animals, gnomes, sea monsters, and cheese with special powers. But if your children enjoy the imaginative and love ending each chapter in suspense, The Secrets of the Cheese Syndicate would be a great book to read. You could use it as part of a unit study on ancient Greece, or you could create a study from the book itself. So many different types of cheeses are mentioned; you could research and taste-test each one as you went along. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy the adventure. Right after we finished it, my children wanted to read it again!