Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Mystery in the Forbidden City by Harper Paris -- ESSENTIAL

Paris, Harper The Mystery in the Forbidden City (Greetings from Somewhere #4), illustrated by Marcos Calo. 122 pgs. Little Simon, 2014. #15.99. Content: G.

After their adventures in Venice and Paris, Ella and Ethan have now traveled to Beijing with their travel-writer mother and homeschooling father. But when they discover an ancient map, they are so engrossed in interpreting it that they lose their tour group. Can the twins find both the tour group and the purpose of the map before their parents discover they've gone missing?

This is another wonderful installment in the Greetings from Somewhere series. Like the books that came before, the twins work well together and are clever without seeming too adult. The entwined mysteries provide enough suspense to keep young readers guessing, and the details of the setting will likely make many readers want to visit Beijing while also teaching them a little something about the area. The large font, plentiful illustrations, and fairly simple wording make this good for those who are new to chapter books. Ella and Ethan do refer to previous adventures, which makes it more difficult -- though not impossible -- to read the books out of order. Includes a glossary with several words in Chinese; this is an interesting addition, although a pronunciation guide would have been helpful.

EL (K-3) -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Caryn

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