The 13th Clue

The 13th Clue

by Ann Jonas
     
 

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"Jonas's latest work is an open invitation for young mystery fans. Beginning with a diary entry of a child...the book leads the protagonist (and readers) on a merry chase from the attic to the backyard, across the pond, through the woods and up a hill where a surprise birthday party awaits her....Children will be immediately captivated by the clever clues....A… See more details below

Overview

"Jonas's latest work is an open invitation for young mystery fans. Beginning with a diary entry of a child...the book leads the protagonist (and readers) on a merry chase from the attic to the backyard, across the pond, through the woods and up a hill where a surprise birthday party awaits her....Children will be immediately captivated by the clever clues....A guaranteed-to-please selection that deserves a spot in any collection."—School Library Journal.

Author Biography: Ann Jonas, author-artist of Splash! and Round Trip, lives in Germantown, New York.In Her Own Words...

"I grew up in a family that attached great importance to knowing how to do as many things as possible, from skating to skiing to cabinet-making to repairing the family car. Everyone always had several projects going at the same time, and drawing was considered an incidental skill, a tool for planning a project rather than an end in itself. It was only after a few years of dead-end jobs following high school that I decided some specific training might be helpful, even necessary. I attended Cooper Union and after graduation went to work in the studio of my former graphicdesign instructor.

"A few years later my husband, Donald Crews, was inducted into the Army and subsequently sent to Germany. I followed and found a job with a German advertising agency, trying to design ads with a "Madison Avenue" look for them. We lived in Germany for one-and-a-half years, sharing a rambling apartment with German friends. Our first daughter, Nina, was born there. When we returned to the United States, we started our own freelance design business.

"Our second daughter, Amy, was born, and the designbusiness grew. It wasn't until both daughters were nearly ready for college that I considered doing books for children, and then it was only through the urging of my husband and his editor, Susan Hirschman.

"My first book, When You Were a Baby, came together very quickly. I drew strongly on memories of my children and their friends at two and three and their evident pride in their accomplishments. Two Bear Cubs was next and then Round Trip, which was the working out of an idea that had interested me in the abstract. With succeeding books, I've been trying to explore other ways of stretching children's imaginations. I find myself drawn more and more often to designing books that involve some sort of visual play. It seems like a wonderful opportunity to encourage children to look at familiar things in different ways while offering the appeal of a game or a puzzle. If I can also deal, even if only lightly, with some of a child's deeper concerns, then I feel that I've served him or her as well as I can."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jonas ( Round Trip ) provides several unusual twists and turns in this visually engaging mystery, once again displaying her penchant for unorthodox formats. An ignored birthday girl's disappointed diary entry is interrupted--``That's funny. The light just went on!''--setting into motion a string of clues that require the reader to spin the book into a variety of positions. Inanimate objects (extension cords, mown grass, garments on a clothesline) form letters and words when viewed from a particular angle. No characters appear in this virtually textless book until its surprise ending; but the protagonist's shadow falling across each spread reveals the proper perspective from which to view the clues. Scrambled letters, mirror writing and rebus add to the sleuthing fun. Jonas's large-scale, full-toned watercolors function as both word and image, cleverly couching hints amid the scenery. In this mystery-adventure, the hunt is more enjoyable than the (somewhat predictable) treasure. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- From the large magnifying glass on the front cover to the collage cutouts on the back, Jonas's latest work is an open invitation for young mystery fans. Beginning with a diary entry of a child complaining about her terrible day, the book leads the protagonist (and readers) on a merry chase from the attic to the backyard, across the pond, through the woods and up a hill where a surprise birthday party awaits her. Although the foreshadowing of the surprise in the opening diary entry seems a bit obvious, children will be immediately captivated by the clever clues that form the main part of the text. As she did with animals in The Trek (Greenwillow, 1985) , Jonas has worked the messages inventively into the motif of each scene; in a particularly brilliant stroke, the words of one clue are created by the laundry hanging on the line. To entice readers even further, some hints are written backwards, others upside down, and still others as a rebus. The strong natural tones used in portraying the lush woods, the craggy stone wall, and the mossy pond form a definite contrast to the bright primary colors found in the party scene and in the closing diary entry. It is also interesting to watch the protagonist evolve from a mere hint of a shadow to a full portrait of a young girl as the story progresses. Although the book could be shared with small groups, it will work best one-on-one since some of the clues are rather difficult to decipher from a distance. In any case, it will have wide appeal for would-be detectives who will be inspired to try their hand at designing their own clues, and it should also be an effective choice for reluctant readers. A guaranteed-to-please selection that deserves a spot in any collection.-- Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, RI
Carolyn Phelan
This picture book begins with a diary entry on notebook paper. The unseen diarist writes that it's been a terrible day, then adds "That's funny. The light just went on." Each double-page spread provides a clue that leads the girl (shown only in shadow or reflection) from one place to the next. A note hanging from the attic light says "FIND MORE CLUES," while a jump rope and an electrical cord on the floor form the words (in cursive) "Go downstairs." Other puzzles the girl and the reader must decipher include a rebus, words formed by clothes hanging on a clothesline, letters that spell out different words upside down and right side up, and words with their letters scrambled. The trail of clues ends with a surprise birthday party. In the final spread, the completed diary entry proclaims "What a GREAT day!" Like Jonas' "Round Trip" and "Reflections" , this calls on children's love of puzzles to draw them into a book that needs participation to be successful. The full-color artwork, with its delightful changes of perspective, shows a sure sense of design. While the book looks "young," it will appeal most to those early and middle elementary school children who are fascinated by wordplay. An original.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688097431
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/01/1992
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.21(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.31(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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