Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The 39 Clues

The 39 Clues series was very popular at our school last year. The only one that I could find on the shelf to read was #2 which featured clues about the life of Mozart, I thought our music teachers would like that one!

Now that it's summer, book #1 The Maze of Bones has been on my reading list and was found at the public library. Anytime you start a series it's always good to read the books in order. It is especially good to catch the first one which gives you the background information you need to understand the story and introduces the main characters. In The 39 Clues 14 year old Amy, and her 11 year old brother, Dan Cahill are orphans, who live with a strict Aunt, but have a wonderful grandmother called Grace, who they visit at her mansion every weekend.

Grace Cahill's death at the beginning of this book reveals a challenge to her relatives through a video played at the reading of her will. In the video Grace reveals that the Cahill family has had "a greater impact on human civilization than any other family in history." She challenges them to form teams to go on a "quest of vital importance to the Cahill family and the world at large." But, only one team can succeed! "It will be the greatest, most perilous undertaking of all time." The teams will receive the first of 39 clues that leads to "The most important treasure in the world and make you powerful beyond belief...or it might kill you!"

Or, they can take $1,000,000.00 and leave the room. Talk about exciting! They have only 5 minutes to decide. What would you do? One million dollars or a great adventure with the promise of vast wealth and power? Luckily for us, they decide to burn the one million dollar voucher and the quest begins.

Credit: Historical Society of Penn.
The Maze of Bones centers around Benjamin Franklin, so off the pair go to Philadelphia where young Ben spent much of his time. This is a fast-moving story with lots of action and problems that crop up for the siblings. They don't always get along or agree on what to do, just like real life, which adds to the fun.

This Scholastic Books series has been written by nine different authors for 8 -12 year old students and includes eleven titles. There is a second series called Cahills vs Vespers which continues the adventures. A movie based on the series is scheduled for release in 2014. Our school library acquired several copies of The Black Book of Buried Secrets, which is a fabulous guide to all of
The 39 Clues characters, their talents and even some of their secrets.

The 39 Clues link  Takes you directly to a page where you can interact online by signing up, finding out what "branch" of the Cahill family you belong to, and entering into the search. Each new book comes with a packet of CLUE cards to add to the fun. The first contest ended in March of 2010. Take a look at the six lucky  kids from around the world who were the First Series Winners - 39 Clues.

A Scholastic Reading Club link has activities and contests for groups of students. Looks like a great opportunity for a middle school afterschool club. This link also has good synopses of each of the titles. The new series Cahills vs Vespers has three titles so far, plus a stand alone novel called The Cahill Files: Operation Trinity. The fourth book, Shatterproof  is due out on September 4th just in time for back to school.

Rick Riordan author of The Maze of Bones, and other 39 Clues titles. Has also written the Percy Jackson series (featuring Greek Mythology) and The Kane Chronicles (Egyptian Mythology). He has a fantastic website with links to activities based on each of these series. I better stop now, there is a whole new post I could do about Mr. Riordan.

Join the Adventure -- Hunt for the 39 Clues!

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