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Children's LiteratureIn a hybrid fashion, this informational book involves children in an historical period, with details in text supported by illustrations. It also features actual discoveries in sidebars which use photos to show the artifacts. Also, in the latter pages, a detective story set in the time period involves readers in solving a mystery and it relies on the terminology and artifacts featured in the earlier text. In this story we are looking for the thief who stole the treasure from the royal pyramid of a pharoah's forefather; and there are three suspects. The solution leads readers through the book once again, using page numbers helpfully keyed into the text, to look for clues as they see how the mystery unfolds. Readers can earn points if they don't have to look in back at the pages they read to solve the mystery, making this a more-than-one-read book. In a third pass, readers find bits of treasure hidden in many of the pictures. Information is supported by a timeline, an index, and a glossary. Illustrations that are not photographs are vivid, interesting, and active. They show people in everyday activities and invite readers to discuss what they think they are seeing, such as children's games, types of clothing, food or landscape. It is a visually interesting look at the past and the series is rich enough to hold a readers attention—and also enjoy the challenge of solving mystery. "History Detectives" series. 2000 (orig. 1999), Peter Bedrick/McGraw-Hill, Ages 8 to 12.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.