October 18 – 24
The Cahills have the longest, most mysterious family history of any other family in the world. At least, that's what Dan and Amy come to discover about their heritage when they embark on their search for clues. As a part of her will, their relative Grace Cahill left a series of clues behind (for those bold enough to try) that will lead one family member to the most important Cahill family secret of all time. Join Dan and Amy as they learn to trust no one but each other and travel the world on their search for the 39 clues.
Riordan, R. (2008). Maze of bones. New York: Scholastic Books.
As a fan of Riordan's work, I was excited to be able to start reading this series. The story flowed really well and I found myself not wanting to stop reading. I can easily see how for younger readers (with a lot more free time than myself) would want to take part in the online search for clues, collect the trading cards, and any other activities out there I may have missed. And I think encouraging children in pursuing the clues is a wonderful idea for teaching them how to reason and figure things out.
From Publishers Weekly:
Ages 9-12. Built around a ripe conceit--wealthy matriarch scatters cryptic clues to a mysterious fortune around the globe--this first installment in a projected 10-book series is tons of fun. Lead-off hitter Riordan (The Lightning Thief) mixes just the right proportions of suspense, peril and puzzles in a fast-paced read (Riordan mapped the narrative arc for all 10 volumes, but other high-profile authors will be writing for the series, too). Likable orphans Amy and Dan Cahill have moxie (plus Dan can memorize numbers instantly) and frailties (Amy hates crowds). As the siblings compete with less honorable members of the Cahill clan, all distantly related to Benjamin Franklin, to win the fortune by collecting all 39 clues (only two are found in this first book), they learn about their dead parents, each other and world history. The humor is spot on--one uncle is credited with inventing the microwave burrito. The only flaw? The story does not end so much as drop off a cliff. (The second book, One False Note by Gordon Korman, is set to arrive in December.) While waiting, readers can collect cards, each of which contains evidence, and play the online game (www.the39clues.com), for which Scholastic is offering over $100,000 in prizes. This ought to have as much appeal to parents as it does to kids--it's Webkinz without the stuffed animals, and a rollicking good read. (Sept.). 220pg. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2008.
[Book Review of Maze of Bones]. (2008 September 22). Publishers Weekly, pp 58.
Gr. 4-8. In a bold leap forward in marketing strategy, this first book in the 39 Clues series introduces readers to what promises to be a sensational mix of reading, online gaming, card-collecting, and even a grand-prize sweepstakes. The premise of the book: Grace Cahill, matriarch of the world's most powerful family, dies and leaves behind a challenge to her descendants. They can either inherit one million dollars, or forgo the money and receive the first of 39 clues that will lead them on an around-the-world adventure in search of, well, that's a secret. But it's an earth-shattering secret, and with 10 books planned for the series (each by a different author), it had better pay off in the end. Riordan, who has plotted the main arc for the series, gets the ball rolling nicely with likable brother-and-sister heroes, a cast of backstabbing relatives, and a smattering of puzzles and clues to decipher in the quest for the ultimate secret. Whether this intriguing book represents the first major event in a shifting world of publishing, or is simply a clever money- and attention-grabbing ploy remains to be seen, but it will be fascinating to see what kids make of it. (Library edition does not include game cards). Ian Chipman. 224pg. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2008.
Chipman, I. (2008 October 15). [Book Review of Maze of Bones]. Booklist, pp 39.
Library Setting Uses:
I think a great activity for this series would be to gather the students and go to http://www.the39clues.com/. After giving them each their own composition book to keep track of the clues, students could use the book club to keep track of their clues, share amongst each other and try to figure it out! I also think it would be a fun group activity to watch the author webcasts together.