This is the second book in the series. The first, Rescue on the Oregon Trail, was better. Perhaps it was the fact that I found the Oregon Trail more exciting and more appropriate for the age level she is writing for.
This second book on Rome just kept prompting me to ask myself why she chose ancient Rome and gladiator school out of the hundreds of other time periods and subjects she could have chosen. It was confusing to my daughter in more ways than one and uncomfortable for me to have to explain to my second grader 1.) why young boys were fighting to the death 2.) why grownup gladiators were fighting boys to the death 3.) why people liked to watch them fight–to the death. Yikes!
If the author took a trip to Italy in order to inspire herself, she could very well have chosen to write a book on Ranger traveling to Renaissance Italy and rescuing a boy from Da Vinci’s anger, or to the era of Rome and the great emperors to rescue a servant girl from some travail or other.
I recommend this book for grades 3-4