Sunday, November 3, 2013

Books Full of Adventure and Mystery for Kids

I have to admit that I like a good mystery as much as the next gal.  Throw in some action and adventure and I am hooked.  Of course I always like to try and guess the ending, which drives my husband and kids nuts at a movie theater or even on the couch watching TV, but a girls gotta guess when a girls gotta guess!

I love mysteries for kids because they have to pay attention to the clues in the text and they begin to get a better sense of foreshadowing.  These traits will only help them as they move on to different types of stories.  Learning while enjoying a good story - what could be better?

The books I picked this week are great.  Lockwood and Co. is just a standout.  This is that book that you finish and just say "Wow!"  Down the Rabbit Hole is a perfect book for kids transitioning from kid fare to adult or YA books.  The plot is just a little more sophisticated but there is nothing inappropriate  for the younger set.  And finally Death Cloud which is the young life of Sherlock Holmes and is perfect for kids who are moving on from the Alex Rider series.  All the covers have been redone, and none too soon I might add.  The original book jacket made Sherlock look like he was part of a boy band!

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Title:Lockwood & Co.

Author:Jonathan Stroud

Target:Grades 4-8

Series:This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:
England has been invaded by Visitors, which are ghosts that inhabit dwellings or objects of significance to their death.  Only certain children can directly see or hear these ghosts so they are the ones who can exterminate them.  While some ghosts are only a mild nuisance, others harbor anger and resentment which cause them to hurt or kill the living.  Lucy Carlyle joins Lockwood & Co., one of the extermination companies.  After a job gone wrong, the agency is in peril of closing, so Lucy and her two partners, must take on one of England’s most haunted houses to keep the company afloat.  No one else has survived the night in this house, so why should it be different for them?

Why I love this book:
Oh, this was a fabulous book.  My son had read the Bartimaeus Trilogy, written by the same author, so I had a feeling this series would be good.  Stroud manages to capture the eerie and frightening moments with perfect morbidity, however, he also is able to use the humor of the characters to significantly lighten the mood without destroying the tone of the book.  

Now the three partners Lucy, Anthony and George are just wonderful together.  Lucy can hear the ghosts, Anthony can see them and George is meticulous with research.  But I don’t want you to think of them as cliche.  They are wonderfully drawn out, with nuanced relationships.  By the end of the story I had very clear and crisp pictures of these three in my head.

Who this book is for:
Any child who likes a little fright but has worked their way past the Goosebumps series.  Also, any kids who like a good mystery with charismatic characters and a rousing adventure thrown in.

Final thoughts:
This is perhaps one of my favorite new series this year.  Just fabulous (I know I said that already, but I am going for emphasis through repetition!)

To purchase this book from Amazon, click on the following link: Lockwood & Co. The Screaming Staircase  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.

Title:Down the Rabbit Hole

Author:Peter Abrahams

Target:Grades 5-8


What this book is about:
Ingrid is a thirteen year old girl who plays soccer, has the lead in the local community play and leaves her soccer cleats at the home of a woman who has been murdered!  Since she was somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be, she sneaks back to get her cleats, only to discover evidence about the murderer.  As it turns out, there is a connection between the murder and the local community theater.  She realizes that the only way to get out of all the trouble she has found herself in, is to solve the murder herself, but doing so could prove more dangerous than she suspected.

Why I love this book:
This is the first book that Abrahams, an adult writer, has written for kids and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The characters are well written and felt like they had some depth to them.  I also enjoyed the mystery, and while the “who done it” was not too hard to figure out for an adult, I think that kids will be surprised.  The clues are given out very judiciously and wrapped up nicely at the end.

There was also some good suspense and just enough information to keep us worried about Ingrid throughout the novel.

Who this book is for:
Nice mystery book, but kids don’t have to be into mysteries to enjoy it.  I think that kids who like the Sammy Keyes novels or The Red Blazer Girls will really like this series.

Final thoughts:
I found myself reading through this book quite quickly.  It was hard to put down!

To purchase this book from Amazon, click on the following link: Down the Rabbit Hole (An Echo Falls Mystery)  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.

Title:       Death Cloud

Author:   Andrew Lane

Target:    Grade 6-9

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
Think Sherlock Holmes, the teenage years.  Sherlock is sent away for the summer to live with his Aunt and Uncle outside of London.  While he anticipates a dreary summer, it turns out to be anything but.  When two locals die, Holmes gets suspicious.  With the help of a local ruffian and his new tutor, Holmes learns how to collect information to make educated deductions to solve the case.

Why I love this book:
It was really a lot of fun to get a look at Sherlock Holmes in the early years.  This book is endorsed by the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate, so it stays true to what has been written about the character. 

The book is also full of action, and in fact that is the one problem I had with it.  Occasionally the action is overwhelming and eclipses some of the more interesting investigative components.  But it is a non stop ride that I think many readers will enjoy.

Who this book is for:
Fans of Alex Rider will enjoy this book.  Kids who enjoy a lot of action, but also so intelligent reasoning!

Final thoughts:
Don’t let the cover scare you away, they have all been changed for the better.  No boy need be embarrassed carrying it around anymore.  Unfortunately this was the only copy of the book I had.

To purchase this book from Amazon, click on the following link: Death Cloud (Sherlock Holmes: the Legend Begins)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

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