Richie's Picks: THE 39 CLUES: BOOK ONE: THE MAZE OF BONES
- Richie's Picks: THE 39 CLUES: BOOK ONE: THE MAZE OF BONES by Rick Riordan, Scholastic, September 9, 2008, 182p., ISBN: 0-545-06039-7If you hadn't yet heard of THE 39 CLUES, you will be hearing all about it soon enough. DreamWorks has acquired the screen rights and Steven Spielberg will apparently direct the movie. As described in Variety (of all places), "THE 39 CLUES," which launches Sept. 9, is envisioned as a 10-book series to be released over two years. It's described as a multimedia adventure that will include a set of collectible cards and an online game that will serve as a portal as young readers try to solve a mystery for a grand prize of $10,000. The contest will run for two years."Okay. A book with a bunch of gimmicks and prizes, right? Sounds a little fluffy, perhaps?But the fact is that the first book -- THE MAZE OF BONES -- is great! Not only is it an engaging mystery and thriller, but it also taught me a bunch of neat stuff about geography and history and American cultural landmarks."Aunt Beatrice kept driving and muttering about spoiled children. Amy secretly went back to her huge book. The last two days, since they got the news about Grace's death, Amy had been reading even more than usual. Dan knew it was her way of hiding, but he kind of resented it because it shut him out, too."'What are you reading this time?' he asked. "Medieval European Doorknobs? Bath Towels Through the Ages?'"Amy gave him an ugly face -- or an uglier-than-usual face. 'None of your business, dweeb.'"'You can't call a ninja lord dweeb. You have disgraced the family. You must commit seppuku.'"Amy rolled her eyes."After a few more miles, the city melted into farmland. It started to look like Grace country, and even though Dan had promised himself he wouldn't get sappy, he began to feel sad. Grace had been the coolest ever. She'd treated him and Amy like real people, not kids. That's why she'd insisted they simply call her Grace, not Grandmother or Gran or Nana or any silly name like that. She'd been one of the only people who'd ever cared about them. Now she was dead, and they had to go to the funeral and see a bunch of relatives who had never been nice to them..."Yesterday I spent Jo's and Harry birthday up on the Eel River, sitting alongside my favorite swimming hole, trying to figure out what facts might be of help in uncovering a clue. What's the deal with the random page numbering that suddenly appears? What so important about that photo?The ten books are being written by different, well-known authors. This first one is by rocking writer Rick Riordan of Percy Jackson fame. The second will be by another of my faves, Gordon Korman. (I just wrote last month about one of his other upcoming books, a thriller called THE JUVIE THREE.)"'And yet, all the previous accomplishments of the Cahill clan are nothing compared to the challenge that now faces you. It is the time for you to discover the greatest secret of the Cahills, to become the most powerful members of the family in history -- or to die trying.'"Amy and Dan Cahill are orphan siblings. As we come to recognize, each has inherited some of the cognitive abilities of their talented, late parents. At Grace's funeral, it is announced that all the heirs in attendance have a choice: Each individual has the option of taking a check for a million dollars and walking away OR the option of taking a clue that will lead to another clue that will lead to another clue that will eventually lead to the REAL Earth-shaking inheritance.And -- Shades of Hogwarts! -- when Dan bemoans the "bunch of relatives who had never been nice to them," he's not kidding! There are four different branches of the Cahill clan and it quickly becomes evident that those relatives who, along with Dan and Amy, opt for the first clue rather than the million bucks are going to stop at nothing to get a leg up on the rest of the family.Of course, Scholastic does not want the relatives of booksellers and reviewers and librarians (not to mention the booksellers and reviewers and librarians themselves) to get a leg up on the general public in solving the mystery of the first book, SO THEY LEFT THE END OF THE DARN FIRST BOOK OUT OF THE ADVANCE COPIES THEY SENT US!!!Which means that we, too, will be waiting for September 9th, when the fun begins. You'll find the clock ticking down to the starting gun at: http://the39clues.scholastic.com/
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