by Adam Blade
2007, Scholastic, children's paperback
Apparently this is one of a series of six books in which 2 children have to fight creatures enslaved by an evil sorcerer. His power over the monsters is through a golden collar he put around their necks. When the golden collar is removed, however, they are no longer under the sorcerer's power and they turn good again.
The reading level is third grade, with interest level ages seven to ten. This seems about right to me. It is sort of like a step up from the (terrific) Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne. The kids in this book face some danger, perhaps a little more intense, but not too intense. There is some character development on a slightly deeper level. For example, one of the kids is looking for his father.
In some ways, books of this type might be a gateway to more serious fantasy, similar to the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine leading to Stephen King. (It would be interesting to hear from other readers and the paths they took from children's books to more mature works.)
This is a pleasant read - and short (76 pages with ample white space) - and is nicely done for its target audience and what it seems to want to accomplish.