Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Greetings from Somewhere, Book 2 - The Mystery of the Mosiac

Those inquisitive twins, Ethan and Ella, are back to solve another mystery in the next Greetings from Somewhere book for early readers!

The twins begin their journey around the world as their mother starts her new job, researching and writing about her travels to various countries.  While in the first book, Ethan and Ella had not been happy to be uprooted from their home, their friends, and their grandfather, their arrival in Venice, Italy opens their eyes to a brand new world to experience.  And they aren't in Venice very long before their grandfather, via e-mail, presents them with a brand new mystery to solve - find a 500-year old mosaic.  Their only clues are "Calle Farnese" and "look up."  So begins The Mystery of the Mosaic.

Now, keep in mind - this book (and this series) is aimed at readers, age 5 - 7.  This means that (a) there are pictures on pretty much every other page, if not every page; (b) the font is quite large; (c) the language and words are simple, with any new words clearly defined; and (d) the story is short and the mystery fairly easy.  What this does not mean is that the book is not good.  Quite frankly, I wish this series had been around back when I was in first grade. I have no doubt in my mind that I would have thoroughly enjoyed it (probably more so than I do now, as an adult reading it with a child's perspective in mind).

In some ways, this series of books would be a great precursor for Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries (the original series of books, not the ones currently being published).  For example, in this mystery, the twins begin their search for the mosaic that their grandfather sends them searching for, but along the way, they happen to see someone steal their new friend's gondola. They rush to their friend's aid and help him recover the stolen gondola, and it is Ethan's keen observations that prove the gondola belongs to their friend.  By helping their friend, they get to take their very first ride through the canals of Venice on the gondola, which, inadvertently, leads them to the discovery regarding the mosaic.  Throughout the story, readers are introduced to various facts about Venice and Italy, including some Italian words (with a two-page glossary in the back, listing the words from the story and their meanings).

For those of you with children who are just beginning to read - this is the series of books for you!

RATING:  9 pieces of colored glass out of 10 for introducing younger audiences to not only reading, but the joys that are mysteries.

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