The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon: The Expeditioners, Book 1
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon, the first installment in a series, is an exciting adventure with strong, appealing boy and girl characters that takes place in an alternative world in which computers no longer exist, nor does electricity. It's all steam engines and clockwork, and the United States and its allies have embarked on a whole new era of colonization and exploitation. As the kids follow a map left by their late father, they're often in danger from hostile government agents, and at least one adult character is killed in a violent clash. Aside from the occasional "damn," language isn't a problem. Lots of thought-provoking issues arise, including the impact of exploration on indigenous people who just want to be left alone, and the cruel exploitation of animals.
What's the story?
Ever since their explorer father was declared dead on his last adventure, the West kids -- Zander, the oldest; Christopher (Kit), who shares his dad's passion for maps; and M.K., who's rarely seen without either a wrench or a knife in her hand -- have been trying to eke out an existence in what's left of the family home. When a mysterious stranger with a clockwork hand slips Kit a book that proves to contain part of a map from their late father, the kids are determined to explore the territory and find what their dad was trying to tell them. Unfortunately, hordes of sinister government agents also want the map and don't care what they have to do to get it. Fortunately, the kids make some excellent friends along the way.
Is it any good?
Between Taylor's fast-moving, appealing tale and Katherine Roy's plentiful illustrations that bring the characters to life, this book has a lot to offer readers young and old. As the kids try to outrun and outwit their pursuers, all while dealing with dark caves, day-glo slugs, giant vultures, and other hazards, there's plenty of age-appropriate excitement.
There's also plenty of opportunity for readers to consider ethical issues -- the destruction of cultures and the theft of their resources by "explorers," cruel exploitation of animals, and the value of loyal friends. Plus the intriguing notion that maps are always wrong because they depict only what we already know about. The book's ending leaves readers wanting more, resolving some issues and setting up further adventures.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why there's such a fascination in contemporary literature with alternate worlds in which technology is based on steam and clockwork, and why such a world might exist.
Do you agree with Zander that it was evil to turn the parrot Pucci into a war machine by removing assorted body parts and substituting mechanical ones? How does Pucci repay Zander's kindness?
What do you think of The Expeditioners' notion that maps are never really accurate because they assume we've explored everything there is to explore?
|Topics:||Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, History|
|Publication date:||December 11, 2012|
|Number of pages:||384|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||10 - 17|