Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag

Spring 2012 Fiction
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Kate Messner
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0545395397
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Capture the Flag is a fun and breezy adventure set, mostly, in a snowed-in Washington D.C. airport. Three children cross paths at a Smithsonian celebration of the flag that inspired "The Star Spangled Banner." They have a secret in common, but don't discover it until a snowstorm traps everyone at the airport overnight. When a news alert announces that the priceless historic flag has been stolen, panic ensues. The children suspect that the thief is at the airport, too, and set out to find him - but they need to do it before the planes resume flight.

The investigative team is made up of 12-year-old journalist Anna, slacker and video game player Henry, and bookworm-Harry Potter fanatic Jose. They're linked in a big way. Each is related to a member of the elite Silver Jaguar Society, a secret group made up of the descendents of famous artists, tasked with protecting the world's greatest artifacts.

Characters are big and bold, from Senator Snickerbottom and his slippery crew to the mysterious tattooed man to Vincent Goosen, aka the Serpentine Prince, the Jaguar Society's longtime nemesis. The unique environment provides a perfect setting for mayhem. There are baggage belts to ride, carts to steal and shampoo to dump on floors to trip the villains up. It's a good mystery with lots of action and a nice friendship theme. The race to the end is exciting and leaves plenty of room for a sequel. A fun summer read - especially in an election year.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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