Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Self-esteem & Self-reliance

X Marks the Spot

by (author) Jeff Szpirglas & Danielle Saint-Onge

illustrated by Dave Whamond

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
May 2015
Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Friendship, School & Education
Recommended Age
6 to 8
Recommended Grade
1 to 3
Recommended Reading age
6 to 8
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A natural-born explorer, Leo loves to make maps and experiment with new ways of getting around the schoolyard. But explorers sometimes get sidetracked, which can lead to getting in trouble. When Leo’s teacher, Mr. Chang, announces he’ll be giving out an award for responsibility, Leo is determined to redeem himself. The upcoming class field trip to the woods seems like the perfect opportunity. He’ll get to use his handy compass watch and show Mr. Chang he can be extra-responsible! But when two of Leo’s classmates wander out of bounds, Leo is faced with a tough decision.

About the authors



JEFF SZPIRGLAS is the author of multiple books in the Countdown to Danger series. In addition to his choose-your-own-path titles, Jeff has written award-nominated non-fiction books and several terrifying novels and horror collections for middle-grade readers, including Tales from the Fringes of Fear and Tales from Beyond the Brain. With his wife, Danielle Saint-Onge, he is the co-author of the Orca Echoes books X Marks the Spot!, Something's Fishy and Messy Miranda. He's worked at CTV Television and was an editor at Chirp, chickaDEE and Owl magazines. He has twin children, two cats (the cats are not twins) and one dog. In his spare time, he teaches elementary school. He lives in Kitchener, Ontario. Visit him online at


Jeff Szpirglas' profile page

Jeff Szpirglas and Danielle Saint-Onge live together in Toronto and teach in classrooms with students of diverse cultural backgrounds. Jeff has written several books, including Gross Universe and Fear This Book, as well as scripts for radio and television. He likes to make Danielle watch scary movies with him. Danielle has a master's degree in social anthropology and is a crusader for equity in the classroom. Whenever Jeff makes her watch a scary movie, she usually makes Jeff watch one about people in love afterward.

Danielle Saint-Onge's profile page

DAVE WHAMOND a illustré la série Margot et My Think-a-ma-Jink, tous deux gagnants du prix Blue Spruce. Il a également signé les illustrations des livres de Robert Munsch Quelle tête!, C’est petit ici! et Je raffole de l’école!, et est l'auteur d'une bande dessinée intitulée Reality Check, qui paraît quotidiennement dans un certain nombre de journaux nord-américains. Dave habite à Calgary, en Alberta.


DAVE WHAMOND is the creator of Oddrey and My Think-a-ma-Jink, both winners of the Blue Spruce Award. He illustrated the Robert Munsch books Braids!, Think Big! and School Rules! He also has a syndicated cartoon strip called Reality Check, which appears daily in a number of North American newspapers. Dave lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Dave Whamond's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Does an excellent job of highlighting the daily challenges children in the early grades of elementary school experience, including learning what it means to be responsible, making tough decisions, working with peers, and cooperating with other children who may not be the easiest people to get along with. Readers will be readily able to identify with the challenges that Leo encounters, particularly his frustration in trying to do the right thing but not always being understood...The characters in the book are quickly and clearly sketched out, resembling the unique personalities of students that make up a class...The pace of each chapter is moderately brisk and leads seamlessly into the next. Readers must remember what happened in the story previously as the chapters do not stand on their own, making it a good selection for readers who are in the final stages of reading early chapter books. The language is clear, sometimes subtly humourous, and will resonate with readers between seven and nine years of age. Highly Recommended."

CM Magazine

"Leo learns that being responsible sometimes means having to choose between following the rules and doing the right thing. The short chapters and numerous illustrations make this book a good transitional chapter book."

Resource Links

"Responsibility is a theme that runs throughout this story of Leo who loves maps and exploring...While on a field trip to practice map skills, Leo gets a perfect opportunity to show that he is responsible when some of Leo’s classmates get lost and he uses his expertise to get them back on course. This beginning chapter book is an easy read; simple b&w illustrations help bring the characters to life."

School Library Connection

Other titles by Jeff Szpirglas

Other titles by Danielle Saint-Onge

Other titles by Dave Whamond

Related lists