Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world's most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost.Read more...
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- The Quest Begins
Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world's most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 Clues hidden around the world will reveal the family's secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what's important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents.
The 39 Clues is Scholastic's groundbreaking new series, spanning 10 adrenaline-charged books, 355 trading cards, and an online game where readers play a part in the story and compete for over $100,000 in prizes.
The 39 Clues books set the story, and the cards, website and game allow kids to participate in it. Kids visit the website - www.the39clues.com - and discover they are lost members of the Cahill family. They set up online accounts where they can compete against other kids and against Cahill characters to find all 39 clues. Through the website, kids can track their points and clues, manage their card collections, dig through the Cahill archives for secrets, and "travel" the world to collect Cahill artifacts, interview characters, and hunt down clues. Collecting cards helps: Each card is a piece of evidence containing information on a Cahill, a clue, or a family secret.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 58.
- Review Date: 2008-09-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Built around a ripe conceit—wealthy matriarch scatters cryptic clues to a mysterious fortune around the globe—this first installment in a projected 10-book series is tons of fun. Lead-off hitter Riordan (The Lightning Thief) mixes just the right proportions of suspense, peril and puzzles in a fast-paced read (Riordan mapped the narrative arc for all 10 volumes, but other high-profile authors will be writing for the series, too). Likable orphans Amy and Dan Cahill have moxie (plus Dan can memorize numbers instantly) and frailties (Amy hates crowds). As the siblings compete with less honorable members of the Cahill clan, all distantly related to Benjamin Franklin, to win the fortune by collecting all 39 clues (only two are found in this first book), they learn about their dead parents, each other and world history. The humor is spot on—one uncle is credited with inventing the microwave burrito. The only flaw? The story does not end so much as drop off a cliff. (The second book, One False Note by Gordon Korman, is set to arrive in December.) While waiting, readers can collect cards, each of which contains evidence, and play the online game (), for which Scholastic is offering over $100,000 in prizes. This ought to have as much appeal to parents as it does to kids—it's Webkinz without the stuffed animals, and a rollicking good read. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)
Launching a multimedia mystery
Will The 39 Clues be the next Webkinzcreating an online frenzy, this time with a literary tie-in instead of stuffed animals? Scholastic hopes so, especially now that the Harry Potter publishing phenomenon has ended. Time will tell, but the publisher may well be onto something big, with a project that should appeal to readers, gamers and collectors.
The 39 Clues series includes 10 books, each by a different well-known author (such as Gordon Korman and Jude Watson), with a new one coming out every two or three months. The series presents a giant mystery that readers must try to decipher, using trading cards and a website, along with the books. Each book also contains six cards, and readers can buy additional clue-laden packs (350 cards in all). As for the jackpot, Scholastic will provide $100,000 in cash and prizes, some awarded for skill and others as part of a sweepstakes.
The bottom line is that the first book is quite goodfull of suspense, humor, likable characters and a riveting plot. Rick Riordan, the wildly successful author of the Percy Jackson series, delivers an intricate web of suspense, a sort of Da Vinci Code for kids (without the religious overtones).
Amy and Dan Cahill are orphans who live with their not-so-nice aunt. Their world falls apart with the death of their beloved (and wealthy) grandmother, Grace. At the funeral, the lawyer calls together her many heirs in the mansion's Great Hall and offers them each a choice: take a one-million-dollar inheritance and leave, or, instead of money, be given the first of 39 clues. The clue, the lawyer explains, "might lead you to the most important treasure in the world and make you powerful beyond belief." Of course, Amy and Dan take a clue, and the action begins. Other family members take the clue too, so the race is on. As Dan and Amy try to piece the puzzle pieces together, they travel the world and learn a bit of history too.
The series is such top-secret stuff that my advance reading copy of The 39 Clues, Book One: The Maze of Bones did not contain the complete text or the first clue. Nor could I try out the websiteno one gets a head start until the official launch on September 9. It looks to be great fun, however, with online missions, character blogs, maps, surveillance videos and games.
Did I mention that DreamWorks Studios has bought movie rights, and that Spielberg may direct? All I can say is Harry Potter, Webkinzwatch your back! o
Alice Cary and her twin daughters are pondering their clues in Groton, Massachusetts.