A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas is a rollicking adventure with throwback charm -- and culturally deaf stereotypes that spoil some of the fun. Screenwriter Jonathan W. Stokes' debut has a cinematic feel, with lots of changes in scenery and high-energy chase and fight scenes. The young adventures career from one perilous situation to another: They infiltrate a wedding attended by drug cartels, flee attacking headhunters, get involved in fist- and knife-fights, and narrowly escape death by drowning and fire. The plot peddles some tired exotic portrayals (the aforementioned headhunters, for example, and elaborate Incan booby traps) for the sake of a good yarn, but emphasizes that historical treasures shouldn't be swiped for personal collections. Addison's fondness for Arnold Palmers is presented much like an adult character's signature cocktail, and a parental figure smokes a pipe.
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What's the story?
ADDISON COOKE AND THE TREASURE OF THE INCAS introduces 12-year-old Addison, who shares his family's passion for archaeology, and his younger sister, Molly, who prefers soccer fields to the library. When their aunt and uncle are kidnapped by Ragar, a rival seeking legendary lost Incan riches, Addison convinces his sister and friends Raj and Eddie to join him on a rescue mission and treasure hunt in South America. Charming, fast-talking Addison gets his young team to Colombia, where they meet Guadalupe, a nimble-fingered thief who guides them through the dangers of the Amazon and into Peru in a race to beat Ragar to the treasure and evade headhunters, drug lords, and Ragar's team of brutes.
Is it any good?
Twelve-year-old Addison Cooke is an appealing new hero for aspiring explorers and world travelers, following in the well-worn footsteps of Indiana Jones and other swashbuckling adventurers. Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas has a warm familiarity and a wonderful cinematic appeal -- not surprising, given author Jonathan W. Stokes' background as a screenwriter.
Stokes' young cast is well developed, if a bit eccentric, and the adventure scenes are wonderfully paced. The plot defies plausibility -- four tweens traveling through the jungle in South America on their own? -- but it's all in good fun. Unfortunately, some of the laughs fall flat as Stokes turns to tired clichés that may not sit so comfortably with modern readers, including elaborately booby-trapped ancient sites, an Amazon with swarming headhunters, and an Asian boy preoccupied with his parents' approval and his academic future.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the blending of history and legend in Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Lost Incas. Do you find it fun, confusing, or inspiring to have fact and fiction so entwined?
Watch documentaries or find stories about archaeologists and their work. How does the reality of archaeology compare with the way the field is portrayed in this book and other adventure stories?
- Author: Jonathan W. Stokes
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Philomel
- Publication date: October 11, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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