Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kid Konnection: Capture the Flag

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a cute mystery book geared towards middle grade readers.

Summary: Three kids get caught up in an adventure of historic proportions!  

Anna, Jose, and Henry are complete strangers with more in common than they realize. Snowed in together at a chaotic Washington D.C. airport, they encounter a mysterious tattooed man, a flamboyant politician, and a rambunctious poodle named for an ancient king. Even stranger, news stations everywhere have announced that the famous flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner" has been stolen! Anna, certain that the culprits must be snowed in too, recruits Henry and Jose to help catch the thieves and bring them to justice.

But when accusations start flying, they soon realize there's more than justice at stake. As the snow starts clearing, Anna, Jose, and Henry find themselves in a race against time (and the weather!) to prevent the loss of an American treasure. -- Scholastic

I first heard about CAPTURE THE FLAG by Kate Messner at this year's BEA. I was fortunate enough to attend a very fun party at Scholastic that featured some incredible authors. We were treated to previews from eight fall releases, and the various authors actually "acted out" scenes from the book as they read them. One of the authors whom I had the pleasure to meet was Ms. Messner. While I've "talked" to her via Twitter for some time now, this was my first chance to meet her in person!

CAPTURE THE FLAG is an adorable middle grade mystery which stars three pretty amazing kids -- Anna, Jose, and Henry. After initially meeting each other at a formal event at the National Museum of American History, the kids find themselves together again at the airport the following day when their flights are cancelled due to a snowstorm. While waiting, they learn that the newly renovated flag that inspired "The Star Spangled Banner" was mysteriously stolen the prior day when they were actually at the museum. Lead by the precocious Anna (who aspires to be a reporter), these kids use their various skills to identify the culprits and return the flag to its proper home!

CAPTURE THE FLAG is exactly the type of book I would have enjoyed when I was in elementary school. It has a fun mystery and some very quirky characters as well as some interesting amateur sleuths, and it was definitely a fun adventure ride as the kids tried to track down the bad guys before their scheduled flight. Heck, as a mom, I thought the book was terrific and I'm sure Booking Son will love it in a few years.

There were many good things about CAPTURE THE FLAG, including the mystery angle; however, I think I most enjoyed the characters of Anna, Jose, and Henry. Anna was always on the look-out for the next great story (just like her mom who was a professional reporter), Jose always had his nose in a book or was quoting famous sayings, and Henry was constantly playing his video games. While I adored Anna with all of her spunkiness and determination, I think almost every child will be able to relate to at least one of the characters.

Each child most definitely contributed to solving the mystery with their various skills; however, I also appreciated that the author provided some background on their characters. Life wasn't perfect for any of the kids (for example, Henry was trying to cope with the loss of his mother and the remarriage of his father), and the children were able to bond over their differences and have compassion for each other. I don't want to give too much away, but there is also one very big thing that all three kids have in common (hint: it has to do with a secret society); and I have a feeling that this commonality will allow for future books where these three will solve additional mysteries.

I highly recommend CAPTURE THE FLAG to elementary age children -- probably ages eight and up. It was an interesting mystery with lots of action and surprises; and I'm betting that kids will just love it!

Thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Beth F said...

I like a lot about this book: the Natural History Museum, great characters, and a mystery! I'll have to keep my eye on this author.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

My kids love reading mystery as I did too when I was a kid. This one mixes in history too which is great.

bermudaonion said...

I bet I would have loved this as a kid as well - I read as many mysteries as I could find. I remember that author talking about her research for this book at that party.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great read - mysteries were my favorite as a kid! Love that a little learning is dropped in there, too - win/win.

Unknown said...

I just read this book yesterday! I loved it and so did my 9 year old!

Beth S. said...

Kate Messner has become quite a prolific middle grade writer as of late. I'm looking forward to reading this mystery, especially because I don't have a whole lot of mysteries in my classroom library.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I just love Scholastic! I can't leave a link because I am traveling but my Kid Konnection book this weekend is for another wonderful book by G. Neri.

Henry said...

I love your blog, Booking Mama! That's why I bought an ad. I'm a fan!