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The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy

The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy

The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy

Sisters Franny and Zo and their brother J.D. find themselves being admitted to an exclusive boarding school called the Allbright Academy. Only Zo really qualified but she refuses to attend unless her brother and sister can go too. That’s how bad the Academy wants to recruit Zo.

The school’s buildings and grounds are like a picture postcard, the food is exceptional and the school makes chocolate brownies available throughout the day. The kids at the school are smart, beautiful and dedicated to their studies. They are also overly nice. What could be better?

When Franny’s new friend Calpurnia gets sick and has to rest at home for a few weeks, she discovers something troubling. At home, she doesn’t seem nearly as bright or beautiful.  Something weird is definately going on. Is the Allbright Academy THAT good? What could the Allbright Academy be doing to makes its students so perfect?

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Skill Test: The Effective Detective

Skill Test: The Effective Detective

effectivedetectivePractice your detective skills with Fern from Arthur. Fern will show you pictures of several of her friends. You will choose one friend. Then you will choose three things that describe that friend. Fern will try to guess which friend you chose. If Fern can guess the correct friend in three guesses or less – you win!  The Effective Detective

Talk the Talk Word of the Day: Sleuth – A nickname for a detective.

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Skill Test: American Memory Super Sleuth

Skill Test: American Memory Super Sleuth

historysupersleuth1Your mission on this test is to identify what is wrong with each picture. You will be shown a photograph and a description. Each photograph has something wrong with it - something which doesn’t belong. Use your mouse to click the area of the photograph that you think is wrong. To see a larger version of the picture, click on the words “make it bigger” below the photograph. If you click on the thing that doesn’t belong, you will advance to the next Sleuth Level. If you can successfully complete all five missions, you are a Super Sleuth. American Memory Super Sleuth

Talk the Talk Word of the Day: Slammer – Another name for jail.

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The Seven Keys of Balabad

The Seven Keys of Balabad

The Seven Keys of Balabad

During a war hundreds of years ago, the seven sons of King Agamon of Balabad were each given a key. The seven keys were part of the security built around a grand treasure. The sons were sent to seven different places in the world to keep themselves (and the keys) safe until the war was over. Only when the keys came together again could the treasure of Balabad be found again.

500 years have passed since the seven sons were sent into the world. The sons are long gone, the fate of the keys unknown.

In today’s Balabad, a tiny (made up) Middle Eastern country, Oliver Finch is living with his parents, his Dad a foreign correspondant and his mom an art curator. Oliver is homesick for his friends, movies, pizza and everything familiar about New York City. Oliver and his only friend Zee find amusement and relief from the heat and blowing sand in the tent of the local carpet seller, Haji, an excellent storyteller.

One day, the boys learn about the theft of a 500 year-old carpet, The Sacred Carpet of Agamon. Then Zee overhears his father having a curious conversation and then Zee finds something interesting…an old key….and then Haji disappears under mysterious circumstances. An Indiana Jones-like adventure with a secret map, a cavern of mazes, greedy bad guys and smart kids who figure out the clues that lead to the secret of the seven keys.

This story is based on a real treasure found in Afghanistan called the Golden Hoard of Bactria. The treasure lay buried under a hill for 2,000 years before it was found again in the late 1970s.

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Thirteenth Child

Thirteenth Child

Also Known as Harper

Eff and her family live in the American frontier during pioneer times. But this isn’t your regular frontier story – in this story the pioneers have magical skills! What Columbus discovered in the New World is a dangerous place where dragons and mammoths and bears live. (As if grizzly bears aren’t bad enough, throw in some prehistoric creatures and some magical beasts!) The settlers have used their magic to set up a magical barrier – an invisible force field – to keep the dangerous animals away from their settlements.

Eff’s twin brother Lan is the seventh son of a seventh son. In their magical world being a seventh son is good – it means powerful magic. Eff is a thirteenth child. Some people think thirteenth children are bad luck. Even some of Eff’s relatives believe that Eff is cursed and will bring bad luck to everyone around her. Eff believes it too until the year everything changes.

This is a really original story set in an unlikely place. I think we are all used to reading magical stories set in the Middle Ages with knights and castles, but this time Patricia Wrede has done something really different. I liked that about this book. I also liked Eff. If lots of people around you were telling you you were bad luck…it would be hard not to believe them, wouldn’t it?  I liked watching Eff fight for belief in herself. I can’t wait for book two. Author: Patricia Wrede Series: Frontier Magic (This is the first one – more will follow.)

 

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