Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Greetings from somewhere: The mystery of the gold coin by Harper Paris, illustrated by Marcos Calo

This is a new beginning chapter series from Little Simon. They've done some really popular series, especially Critter Club. I wasn't as impressed with this series.

Twins Ethan and Ella are shocked and dismayed when their parents tell them they're moving away from their hometown next week to travel the world with their mother's new job. Their archaeologist grandfather gives Ethan a gold coin and Ella a journal as goodbye presents. But right before they're about to leave, the gold coin disappears! The twins work together to solve the mystery and decide they really are excited about traveling after all.

This is the opening of the series, so it's mainly set-up of the characters and their identifying quirks. I'm guessing that future titles will feature different cities with interesting travel information, as well as the mysteries. However, I really wasn't into this as an opening. The mystery and the methods the kids use to solve it isn't bad, but the traveling plot was so completely unbelievable and unrealistic. Telling the kids a week in advance that they will be traveling the globe, being homeschooled, and who knows if they're ever coming back? In fact, I can't believe they'd be going on this trip at all. It's hard to really develop characters in a beginning chapter book, but this felt like a very random premise, trying to set apart yet another simple beginning chapter mystery series.

The black and white pen illustrations on most pages are attractive and the text is simple and in a large font, so the layout of the book is very attractive. I'm just not convinced that the plot is any good.

Verdict: If you need more beginning chapter book series and don't have to be too picky, it's fine to add this one - some kids might like the mystery/travel aspect. But if you only have the budget for a few series, I'd pass on this one.

ISBN: 9781442497184; Published 2014 by Little Simon/Simon and Schuster; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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