Parents' Guide to

Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Boy joins a come-to-life clay soldier in exciting adventure.

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SECRETS OF THE TERRA-COTTA SOLDIER is an exciting adventure with an unusual supernatural twist. The writing is distinguished by snappy dialogue, sly humor, gripping supense, and down-to-earth, often cooking-flavored metaphors like this one: "His speech was like a drop of water in a pot of hot oil; the crowd bubbled and sizzled with excitement." And readers get lots of historical background about Imperial China and its military, as well as a feel for the political realities of 1970s China and what it was like for the underdog child of an "intellectual" in a school dedicated to teaching revolutionary ideas and "reeducating" intellectuals.

Apart from the thorough political, historical, and cultural context, readers will enjoy a nail-biting, Indiana Jones-type adventure once the main characters leave the village and penetrate the emperor's tomb, dodging centuries-old booby traps to succeed in their mission. They'll also learn a bit about Chinese food, deliciously described, with recipes at the back for two dishes from the story they can make themselves. That's a lot of ingredients folded into one book!

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