My 5th grade son has been enjoying all of the Who Is / Who Was books for the better part of this school year. He really enjoys non-fiction, but his teacher wanted him to experiment with fiction as well as increase his reading stamina by selecting a longer book. He decided to give The 39 Clues a try.
In the past he has struggled with story lines that were too far from reality, so this seemed like a perfect fit. 39 Clues is about a couple of siblings, Amy and Dan, whose aunt Grace recently passed away at the beginning of the book. All of the Cahill descendants are given the choice of taking a check for one million dollars or forfeiting the money for a chance to participate in a scavenger hunt. They will need to track down clues, but only one individual or team can win. The contest will be very dangerous and should not be entered into lightly.
Amy and Dan decide to participate in the challenge. Being minors, they don't have the financial resources most of the participants have at their disposal. They even have to solicit the help of their au pair (nanny) in order to purchase plane tickets, check into hotels, etc.
I found this book to be both entertaining and educational. Reader have the opportunity to learn about Benjamin Franklin and places that were significant in his life such as Philadelphia and Paris. Riordan did an excellent job of keeping the story realistic while inserting some action and elements of danger, which kept my son continuously engaged. I felt like this series was equally as informative as the Who Is and Magic Tree House books, but it was presented in a way that children do not feel like they are receiving a history lesson. It as fun and exciting and allows children a chance to feel like they are part of an adventure.
Preston has the first 10 installments in the series and plans on reading the next book after he completes another "I Survived" book. What I find to be unique about this series is that there are several different authors throughout the course of the series. I will be interested to see if the future books read the same way as the first or if there is an obvious change based upon the different styles of the authors.