Posts Tagged ‘9-12’
Publisher Description: Throughout the hunt for the 39 Clues, Amy and Dan Cahill have uncovered history’s greatest mysteries and their family’s deadliest secrets. But are they ready to face the truth about the Cahills and the key to their unmatched power? After a whirlwind race that’s taken them across five continents, Amy and Dan face the most the difficult challenge yet- a task no Cahill dared to imagine. When faced with a choice that could change the future of the world, can two kids succeed where 500 years worth of famous ancestors failed? (Scholastic)
To thine own self be true
This book knocked my socks off! With the exception of book 2, all books in the series have been excellent in their portrayal of the elements of good character, civility, and virtues. Book 10 surpasses that from its very beginning with strong themes of integrity, trust, and love as each child (as well as some of the adults) struggle with their own identity. It is in the struggle that they acknowledge their own conscience, identify with one another’s selfless behaviours which then breeds trust, and distinguish between love and manipulation. Dan and Amy recognize early on they could win the hunt and then force collaboration upon the others, but they know that the only true way to succeed is by all the family members willingly caring and trusting.
And all of the kids are tired of the lies and killing.
The book was fast-paced and yet filled us in on sufficient detail from past books within the narrative so that nary a word was wasted. And there was still room for subtle humour, such as Dan’s spitting prowess. It is here where the next generation comes into their own. Each of the youngsters (Ian, Jonah, Hamilton) feel pity, remorse and concern for others. Perhaps because Isabel Kabra was the most heartless of the parental teams, Ian has the most to struggle with. But Jonah’s battle to differentiate love vs. admiration shouldn’t be underrated. And Sinead’s ruthlessness turns out to have a benevolent foundation, as poor behaviours often do.
Alastair identifies how Amy and Dan have succeeded:“ Integrity, Courage. Intelligence. Daring. Hard work.” he replies (p. 79).
Not to be forgotten, Amy and Dan have quite a few issues to work through as well. Feeling their mission is hopeless, Amy also worries that, because they are normal and not serum-enhanced, they are talentless. She couldn’t accept that perhaps Shakespeare accomplished greatness by his own effort rather than serum. Thus each must overcome their own weaknesses as well (for Amy, pessimism).
In addition to searching for one’s identity, perhaps the strongest theme in this book is redemption. Amy and Dan know all along that they must bring all five branches of the Cahill family together to collaborate in order to succeed. But they also carry the greatest burden of forgiveness withheld, and must be able to finally offer forgiveness to those who murdered family and friends, as well as those who attempted to kill Amy and Dan. Somewhere deep inside, each of the kids & Alastair still had the capacity for love. Only Isabel Kabra has lost all ability to love and so turned purely evil. It is when they rely upon love rather than cunning manipulation that success is found, branches unite, and all peacefully co-exist.
“So you would have the right instincts…you could win the clue hunt only by valuing human life more than the clues.”
Love’s Labours Won
(See our full review at www.litland.com plus related activities too!)