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"The average reading level of American parents of young children is 7th or 8th grade, but 80% of pediatric materials f... More


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THE SECRET OF THE SACRED SCARAB

Author: Fiona Ingram

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Publisher: iUniverse,

Material: paperback

Summary: Aunt Isabel and Gran are taking cousins Justin and Adam to Egypt. They are excited to be getting out of school, but they are even MORE excited about the adventure that lies ahead. When Aunt Isabel tells them about the legend of the Scarab King, the boys get excited. When they learn that James Kinnaird, the famous archaeologist looking for the tomb has gone missing, they are even more intrigued. They are also convinced that finding the tomb and Mr. Kinnaird is just the adventure they are looking for. When a peddler slips a scarab into Adam's pocket, the boys realize they must be on to something. As they piece together the clues and learn more about Egyptian history, their curiosity turns to fear. Someone is following them - but who? Who is stealing the treasures of Egypt? and just how far will they go to keep their smuggling ring a secret? This is a mystery adventure set in Egypt.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 9 to 14

Reading Level: 4.9

Age of Child: Reviewed by students at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, MN, as part of the Use Your ABCs program.

Young Reader Reaction: Yes, I liked this book. I liked how there was adventure, and with adventure came excitement and suspicion. The author also did a very good job explaining all the scenery and things around Egypt. I picked this book because it looked really interesting from the cover and the back was really good. After the first chapter the book became lots better and interesting. Before the second chapter I thought I was going to be bored reading this. My perception changed.

Adult Reader Reaction: I love a good mystery, and this is a good mystery. There are a few predictable elements, but there is still plenty of suspense. The story is loaded with lots of factual detail about prehistoric Egypt, touring Egypt, and topical issues like protecting national treasure. Of the two boys, Adam is the more well-developed character, and he is the one kids will most likely connect with.

Pros: There is plenty of action and some history in this mystery adventure for preteens. Girls will be just as interested in the story as boys.
Student reviewer: There was lots of detail, and I liked how everything just kind of flowed together.

Cons: Although the author mentions the boys' ages, they are so close in age, description, and knowledge that there is little else to truly distinguish them from each other.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a very enjoyable story and would make a great selection for a history buff or mystery lover.
Student reviewer: I would probably borrow this book because it is good but not something I would want to buy.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE TYGRINE CAT   THE LEGEND OF WILLOW SPRINGS FARM   IF PHOTOS COULD TALK; A SAM & STEPHANIE MYSTERY

Educational Themes: There is plenty to draw from in bringing this book to life. The author's website for the series has lots of additional information about Egypt and activities for kids. The book itself is a good primer on Egypt, folklore and oral history in general, as well as archaeology and antiquities. This is an event-driven story, but there are still topics related to the characters themselves (namely the boys).

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 4.9
The author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub. This is an unsolicited donation. The Reading Tub reviewed the book in conjunction with an Author Showcase feature.

Literary Categories: Fiction - adventure, mystery, middle grade series, multicultural, mythology

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2009, November 2009

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