Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Strict Pick: THE MEDUSA PLOT (39 Clues) by Gordon Korman

I was introduced to the 39 Clues both from its high-visibility placement in the store, but also from its incredible popularity with the middle-grade-aged readers in my reading classes this summer. I've been fascinated with them for a number of reasons, chief among them the way that these books are designed to make reading a multi-dimensional experience.

One of the things I spend a lot of time thinking about as a writer, and especially a writer with  penchant for turning out male protagonists, is how we get boys to read. Just having a boy MC isn't enough for many, not in these days when books are competing with Wii, texting, PS3 and so many other things that draw in our boys--figuring out a way to make books tap into the "gaming" aspect that is so appealing to boys in this age group

39 Clues fits this bill. With so many authors (and big authors!) working on this project, books end up coming out so frequently that they keep the readers engaged--the aspect of being able to "follow along" was what most of my students most enjoyed. Add to that the interactive missions which tie in to the books and you have a series that's managed to turn reading into exactly the kind of game that will make my nephews put down their Wiimotes.

Here's what the publisher has to say about MEDUSA:
After the mysterious Vespers kidnap Cahills around the globe, they order Amy and Dan to steal a priceless painting in exchange for the hostages. The siblings rush to Italy to execute a heist that rivals the most famous art thefts in history. There's just one problem—the painting they steal is a fake. With the clock ticking, Amy and Dan have to track down the real painting before one of Cahill hostages pays the ultimate price. But Dan and Amy can't stop the Vespers alone. Each book comes with six game cards that unlock an online mission and allow you to join the fight against the Vespers. Are you ready?

39 Clues gets my strict pick this week because it's such an innovative way to deal with the changing nature of the readers of today's kidlit. Enjoy it!

The Medusa Plot at Powell's
The Medusa Plot at Amazon
The Medusa Plot at Barns & Noble

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