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

The Emperor’s Riddle

The Emperor’s Riddle

Spring 2017 Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
By: Kat Zhang
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781481478625
Hardcover Price: $16.99

A treasure map. A young girl. An ancient mystery.

Mia Chen, 12, is spending the summer in China with her mom, her big brother and her favorite aunt. Mia's mom and brother Jake are the kind of people who make to-do lists. They're punctual and personable. But Mia? She and her Aunt Lin love history and stories and make-believe. Mia tends to daydream in school, thinking of fanciful tales and wishing she were outside.

Now they're all in Fuzhou, China, and Aunt Lin has reunited with a childhood friend, a man named Ying, who reminds her of how they used to have a quest called the "Great Treasure Hunt."

As Aunt Lin has explained to Mia in the past, a young emperor named Zhu Yunwen, had hidden a great treasure somewhere in the Chinese countryside. "Someday, someone will find it," Aunt Lin would say, prompting Mia to dream piles of jade bracelets and jewel-encrusted rings. Mia wanted to find the treasure and get it into a museum. But here's Ying at their doorstep, and he wants to find the treasure now, to keep the money. Mia is suspicious of him.

When Aunt Lin unexpectedly leaves to go visit friends, Mia knows that something "terrible" has happened. And so begins her adventure. When Mia discovers an old map with riddles in a picture Aunt Lin left behind, she knows she must solve the riddles and find her aunt. And maybe the treasure, too.

Ann Oldenburg   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Ann Oldenburg, assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, began her career at The Washington Post and went on to spend more than two decades with USA Today, where she covered pop culture topics. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.

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