A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the story centers on a possibly true historical murder of two children, which is depicted, though not graphically, in the story. There is also a depiction of an historical battle with many deaths and injuries, again not graphic. Some brands are mentioned, and children in this time period drink beer.
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What's the story?
At the end of Found, Alex and Chip discover they are really princes from the Middle Ages, and they are returned there just in time for their murders, with Jonah and Katherine tagging along to try to prevent them. But messing with history is tricky business, especially when you're not all that clear on what is supposed to happen, and when the central event is, in fact, an historical mystery. Jonah and Katherine must find a way to let the princes die while saving their friends -- who do not want to be saved.
Is it any good?
The first book in The Missing series, Found, was a page-turning suspense thriller; this second book has moments of that too, but they are broken up by lengthy exposition. Given the obscure (for children) historical setting and the importance of the real events to the plot, some exposition was certainly necessary, but author Margaret Haddix, who is brilliant at suspense, is less successful here, with explanations that are sometimes confusing and go on too long.
Nevertheless, that very complex and mysterious historical context gives this novel its fascination. It's like a deeper and more serious version of the '80s TV series Voyagers!, in which history must be corrected. Time travel, suspense, and deeply researched and thought-out historical complexity are a potent combination, and with 36 children trapped out of their times, this series should have a future nearly as long as its past.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the historical basis of this story. What really happened? How can you find out more? How can we know what is true?
What impact did Shakespeare have on our perceptions of this event? What about the many artistic depictions of the princes? Do art and literature affect how we understand history? What about this book?
What do you think of the idea of a repentant Richard?
What effect can minor changes in the past have on the present? Suppose the princes had lived and been crowned? How would that have changed the course of history afterwards?
For kids who love Historical and science fiction genres
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