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Children's LiteratureThis library bound title is part of the publisher's "Secret World Adventure Series" (SWAT). Through a bus window, a man in dark glasses and a black cap hands Amber a piece of paper that launches her and Jeremy on a trip to Mumbai. Through Jeremy, who knows a lot and is therefore termed "OB" (short for "oddball"), we are informed that the city used to be called Bombay but was renamed Mumbai in 1996 by the Indian government. That is not quite correct—it was the city council of Bombay that did the renaming. Still, this being fiction, perhaps it might be asserted that details like this fall in the realm of excusable license. Then there's "Habbibi" who's looking for his snake. He has a Muslim-sounding name—but is that a Hindu caste-mark on his forehead? It must be, surely, as he takes Amber and Jeremy to Varanasi to "pray to the gods to return my snake." Ah, the perils of trying to write the Indian subcontinent! Despite the snatches of place and culture it conveys, and the appeal of some plot notions (the snake with one blue eye and one brown, for instance), this book falls into many such traps. The art is quite charming, although even their tickets to Madurai (way south of Mumbai) and scraps of Tamil text muddy the ostensible setting. All parts of India are not identical, and this book is hardly an accurate guide. 2006, Picture Window Books, Ages 7 to 10.