Thursday, July 10, 2014


18938092Messner, Kate. Manhunt
June 24th 2014 by Scholastic Press

When famous paintings are being stolen around the world, Anna, Jose and Henry are whisked off to Paris from Boston to investigate. Henry’s father and stepmother have just had a baby who was born prematurely, so he is reluctant to go with his Aunt Lucinda, but knows that the Silver Jaguar society has an important function in fighting what looks to be the work of the Serpentine Princes and Vincent Goosen. Sure enough, when they are plunked at a bookstore in Paris with Ursa and her supercilious son Hem (whom Anna thinks is cute), the parents all run off, leaving the children to their own devices. They scout out the Louvre, and are then when there is a security lockdown. The Mona Lisa has been stolen, and the children follow clues to find it… but get into trouble with a lot of double agents and double crossing. Henry, who seems to prefer video games and eating to actual international adventures, calls his father to come and retrieve him, but when his father arrives, he is taken hostage as well. Can the trio save the famous artwork, free the older members of the Silver Jaguar society, and return for book four?
Strengths: Messner is brilliant at structuring her chapters in a way that makes me want to go on to the next chapter, and her research into travel destinations is complete. This series is great for readers who want lots of action combined with interesting locations. Bonus points for #WeNeedDiverseBooks for the inclusion of Jose.
Weaknesses: As much as authors want to write books about famous artwork, I think that very few middle grade readers really care. Also, it would be great to have more character development. All three children remain very flat, and the initial qualities they have are not very appealing.

1 comment:

  1. I wasn't really happy with the cover, but I have so many kids begging for mysteries that I bought it anyways. You're right though, there's a disproportionate interest in stolen art in middle grade mysteries. Maybe because it seems like a "safe" crime?