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Children's LiteratureThe enigma of the Salem Witch Trials is introduced as a young girl explains her desire to be a detective and her interest in finding all the clues possible to solve cases, both present and past. She provides background information about Salem Village and the people who lived there. Realistic full color illustrations fill each double-page. The text appears in a yellow box in different places on each page and a notebook entry explains some aspect of the text in more detail. Various colored "sticky notes" contribute definitions of words and terms. The historical characters involved in this tragic era of our history are described. A notebook entry speculates that the slave Tituba was likely a North or South American Indian, not of African blood. Various reasons for the behavior of the young girls and their accusations are discussed. The medical practices of the time may have contributed to the confusion of the situation. Five possible solutions for the mystery are given near the end of the book and readers are invited to consider the evidence and choose the one that seems most likely for them. This is an innovative way to involve young people in the study of history. 2004, Simon & Schuster, Ages 11 to 15.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.