Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Capture the Flag

Fans of National Treasure type mysteries will love Capture the Flag by Kate Messner. It is a fun read that will probably make most MG readers happy indeed.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Three kids get caught up in an adventure of historic proportions!
Anna, José, and Henry are complete strangers with more in common than they realize. Snowed in together at a chaotic Washington D.C. airport, they encounter a mysterious tattooed man, a flamboyant politician, and a rambunctious poodle named for an ancient king. Even stranger, news stations everywhere have announced that the famous flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner" has been stolen! Anna, certain that the culprits must be snowed in too, recruits Henry and José to help catch the thieves and bring them to justice.
But when accusations start flying, they soon realize there's more than justice at stake. As the snow starts clearing, Anna, José, and Henry find themselves in a race against time (and the weather!) to prevent the loss of an American treasure.

Anna, Jose', and Henry are as different as can be. Anna is a nosy budding journalist who doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut or mind her own business. But she has  good instincts and a great deal of courage. Jose' can bury himself in his books and pretend like the problems in the real world aren't happening. But he is loyal, has a great deal of common sense, and a lot of wisdom. Henry is attached to his video games to the point of obsession. But he is great with younger kids, dogs, and ideas for capturing bad guys.  Together the three of them make a fantastic team. I felt that Messner did an excellent job bringing all three kids to life with their individual personalities, quirks, and interests. They are a diverse group, literally and figuratively, and they work, play, and squabble well together.

The mystery is a fun one, contained to a 24 hour period inside an airport.  I think kids who read this will be as surprised as the kids in the book to discover the bad guys. (Adults will figure it out rather quickly.) In addition to the mystery there is the introduction of a secret society, plenty of action involving luggage carousels and shampoo, and a large heroic poodle. Kids will eat this story up and it is always great when I find a book I can recommend to nearly any kid and no that they will like. Best of all, there will be MORE. A sequel is coming soon.

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