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 Lost Property Office is the first of a planned fantasy series with a dash of steampunk about a secret society of detectives who track down magical artifacts. Violence is infrequent, not gory, and all but once involves fantasy creatures or magical elements. (The exception is when an older teen is knocked to the ground and zapped with a stun gun to make sure he won't betray the heroes.) Scariness is mostly from tension and suspense, although the Great Fire of 1666 is described, and wraiths and skeletons appear in visions. All of Jack's family model strong bonds of loyalty and family unity. Jack, 13, and Gwen, 12, work well together, blush a few times when they get physically close, and there's one kiss on the cheek.
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What's the story?
Jack's search for his missing father soon leads him and little sister Sadie into THE LOST PROPERTY OFFICE, where it's clear something peculiar is going on. Jack learns that his father's been kidnapped, and to save his father he's only got a day to find and then bring the magical Ember to Big Ben by midnight. To make it in time he'll have to fend off mechanical beetles, learn how to work with apprentice clerk Gwen, discover the truth about his family's past, and foil the villainous Clockmaker.
Is it any good?
Veteran thriller author James R. Hannibal puts his talents to good use as he turns to younger readers with this fantasy debut full of action, suspense, and a dash of steampunk for good measure. Clever problem-solving, intriguing and spooky glimpses into London's past, and quirky-but-relatable heroes keep the pages of The Lost Property Office turning just as much as during the tense and taut action sequences. Real-life locations like the London Underground are as skillfully evoked as the delightfully mysterious fantasy locations like the Ministry.
Tweens and middle schoolers looking for fast-paced excitement along with their magical, clockwork fantasy will enjoy this series kickoff, and eagerly await the next installment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Lost Property Office shows that Jack and his family are close. Do they seem like a realistic family? Why, or why not?
Which parts about the Great Fire of 1666 do you think are real, and which do you think are made up? How can you find out if you're right?
Why are so many fantasy stories told as series? How would the ending be different if the author didn't plan to continue Jack's adventures?
- Author: James R. Hannibal
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: November 8, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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