Reviewed for Fourth Grade, 2008

The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones

This story of two siblings, swept up in a dangerous race for clues to their family's incredible history, is just the kind of swashbuckling adventure young readers gobble up. Meet orphans Amy and Dan Cahill, two kids competing against other members of the powerful Cahill clan to discover the first of 39 clues. Why so interested? No biggie-- the clues just lead to a secret that will make them the most powerful people on the planet. Author Rick Riordan, a veteran teacher, sprinkles just enough history to make it count, while keeping kids engaged. And the story flies off the page and into the real world with an online treasure hunt (complete with $100,000 in prizes!) that mirrors the contest in the book, and propels children even deeper into the adventure. The Maze of Bones is the first in a ten-book series, so prepare for your child to be ensnared in the mysteries of history long after she's turned the final pages. (Scholastic, $12.99)