Thursday, December 3, 2009

Get a Clue into history by checking out the 39 Clues adventure series

For the past few months, I have had young and adult patrons asking for the 39 Clues adventure series books published by Scholastic. The demand has been so high, that I had to find out what the hoopla was all about. So I read the first book of the series, The Maze of Bones. It was published on September 2009 and written by Rick Riordan, author of the Lightning Thief.
The series, comprised of 10 books, are written by various authors to teach history along with the suspense of a worldwide treasure hunt. The intense hunt for clues is conducted by a brother-sister team against a slew of distant competitive cousins within four Cahill family branches: the Lucian, the Ekaterina, the Janus and the Tomas. The four branches are named after the original four children who founded them, and fight each other to find lost clues. Each branch is identified by branch names, and the curves and colors of their family crests.
In the 39 Clues: Maze of Bones brother and sister, Amy and Dan, lose their grandmother to cancer. She was the head of the world’s most powerful family, the Cahills. The siblings are all alone in the world, except for each other and their grandmother’s mangy cat.
Minutes before she died of cancer their grandmother Grace Cahill changed her will, leaving her descendants an impossible decision: "You have a choice - one million dollars or a clue." Everyone from Ben Franklin, Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 clues hidden around the world will reveal the family's secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and Amy and Dan must decide what's important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents, presumed dead.
The clues in Maze of Bones centers around the life and accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin. I learned about little known historical tidbits of Franklin by following along Amy and Dan’s research about him in order to obtain each clue. Before I knew it, the book was finished. I am now hooked and awaiting the second book to become available from the numerous holds placed on it.
Unfortunately I am too old to win the real treasure hunt and the $10,000 grand prize for young readers. The series combines the 39 Clues interactive website, online gaming, card collecting and activities to help children between the ages of six and 14 win prizes. Books must be purchased in order to collect the clue cards inside.
The 39 Clues card collecting:
At least 10 collectible cards will be released with this series. Every book will contain six. Cards are also available for purchase separately in Card Packs. It is possible to collect just the physical cards, but most people also keep virtual versions of the cards online, as part of their 39 Clues account. The clues can be found by reading the book or checking the site
Participants who find all of the 39 clues and become one of the top 39 point scorers can compete to win the $10,000 grand prize.
These books may potentially be turned into films. That is the rumor out on the street.
For now, checkout the rest of the series in our collection, Book 2: One False Note; Book 3: The Sword Thief; Book 4: Beyond the Grave; Book 5: The Black Circle; Book 6: In Too Deep. Future issues are Book 7: The Viper’s Nest- February 2, 2010; Book8: April 6, 2010; Book 9: June 8, 2010 and Book 10: September 1, 2010.
So start reading and follow the journey of Amy and Dan as they not only learn about the history of the world and their ancestors, but also their growing respect and understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This story is also about the values of respect, honor, courage and importance of family.
We would like to present a special Tween program based on these series, so any feedback or suggestions on what should be on the agenda would be helpful. I’m thinking of having our own historical treasure hunt.

Signing off,

Mrs. V

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