Messner, Kate. Capture the Flag.
1 July 2012, Scholastic.
Anna is a budding news reporter from a Vermont town, Henry loves video games, and Jose is greatly enamored with Harry Potter and reading in general. Three are snowed in at an airport in Washington, D.C. after all three went with their parents to a gala at the Smithsonian--- and after the Star Spangled Banner has been stolen. Talking to each other at the airport, they start to realize that they all have connections to the Silver Panther organization that attempts to preserve different facets of American history, and decide that the flag must be at the airport, and it is up to them to find it. They meet Sinan, who was also at the gala with his parents who are in an international musical group, and his dog, Hammurabi. The four investigate Senator Snickerbottom, whom they think might be the victim of an assassination attempt, and have a lot of adventures in the airport. When Jose's mother is held as a suspect in the disappearance of the flag, the group is bound and determine to get to the bottom of it.
Strengths: Messner knows what middle grade students what-- independent children having adventures that involve high speed chases with airport equipment, and scary men with snake tattoos. The characters are all intriguing and have their own interests. I especially liked that the parents were around and supportive, but just slightly clueless as to exactly what the kids were up to!
Weaknesses: One thing that I have loved about Messner's books was how original the plots were. Eye of the Storm, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, and Sugar and Ice are all brilliantly fresh and innovative. This was more ordinary-- it had touches of Steel Trapp, 39 Clues, and even National Treasure, which the characters themselves reference. Middle grade readers will not be bothered by this, but I was a tiny bit disappointed.
The first quarter ended this week, and so far this year we have checked out 10,200 books. This seems like a lot until you realize that because I am closed a third of the day for study halls, circulation is down 25%.
Book fair is next week, but only during conferences because of said study hall.
I have had an adult volunteer in almost every day to shelve, repair books, straighten and work on our massive AR labeling project. I've done a tiny bit of weeding (mainly books that smell bad), and am thinking about having someone do a new bulletin board, since the current one has been up for a while.
Currently working on a "100 Great New Books" presentation for our Election Day staff workshops. If anyone would like the annotated bibliography, I'll have it available in a bit.
The weather here in Ohio has been beautiful. I hope to be able to sit on the porch and get a lot of Cybils reading done this weekend!