written by Elise Broach, illustrations by Antonio Javier Caparo
Henry Holt and Company, 2011
Reviewed from purchased copy.
It’s summer and the three Barker brothers—Simon, Henry, and Jack—just moved from Illinois to Arizona. Their parents have warned them repeatedly not to explore Superstition Mountain, which is near their home. But when their cat Josie goes missing, they see no other choice. There’s something unusually creepy about the mountain and after the boys find three human skulls, they grow determined to uncover the mystery. Have people really gone missing over the years, and could there be someone or some thing lurking in the woods? Together with their new neighbor Delilah, the Barker boys are dead-set on cracking the case even if it means putting themselves in harm’s way.I have really enjoyed Elise Broach's other books, Shakespeare's Secret and Masterpiece. So I was looking forward to reading this one. I did enjoy it. I wouldn't call it compelling exactly, but it was interesting to go with the Barker brothers and their friend Delilah on their adventures. I, being a librarian, really appreciated how Broach showed the children searching out answers in several different ways, at the library, seeking witnesses, and going right to the scene of the mysterious happenings. I loved the setting, what a great idea, a Bermuda Triangle, on land. Broach did a great job creating an intriguing setting that the reader is interested in learning more about, along with the main characters.
The writing is very good, clear and easy to follow. The illustrations added to the tension and atmosphere. The only problem I had was a couple of illustrations didn't quite match the written text. This is something I tend to notice because it bothers me. But the story was enjoyable enough that I willingly overlooked the few errors. I appreciated the author's note informing me that while the story is fiction it is based on a real place and some real events. Overall, a nice read, with plenty of discussion points if used as a read-a-loud.
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Children's Literature Association of Utah. These reviews are only my own opinion and they in no way reflect the opinions of the association.