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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Treasure Hunters is the first book in a series. Because it mixes big text, lots of adventure, and illustrations, it might be a good pick for reluctant readers. The author also introduces readers to history, art, literature, and defines words along the way.
There's a strong message in Treasure Hunters about the importance of families.
Positive Role Models
Each of the Kidd siblings has a particular strength, but they value one another (and even cheer one another up when they make mistakes).
Violence & Scariness
The Kidds' mother was kidnapped and their father disappeared during a storm. Many guns are drawn, including spearguns and AK-47s. One of the Kidd siblings is kidnapped and another one has two guns pointed right on her. Villains are encircled by sharks after one of them is wounded. The Kidd siblings are also trained in karate and try to take out a group of security officers with their martial arts moves.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The 17-year-old brother, described as a heartthrob, flirts with girls in bikinis throughout the story. He also gets obsessed with a picture of a naked woman when visiting an art collection.
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Several uses of the word "butt." Also, overweight sister Storm gets called names by several mean people (one group makes "walrus and blubber jokes.")
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Products & Purchases
Mentions of Kmart, Slurpee, Nike, Pop-Tarts, Papa John's Pizza, Twinkie, Ben & Jerry's, iPod, iPad, Google.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The Kidds' nemesis smokes cigars. When Beck is kidnapped, she notices her kidnappers have some soggy cigarettes in an ashtray. The siblings shoot their guardian full of a truth serum, hoping to find out more about their parents.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Treasure Hunters is the first book in a series by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (co-authors of I Funny: A Middle School Story) about treasure hunting siblings whose mother has been kidnapped, and whose father just disappeared during a storm. Many guns are drawn, including spearguns and AK-47s. (Due to the gun content, we recommend this for kids 9-12, rather than the publisher's recommendation of 8-12.) One of the Kidd siblings is kidnapped and another one has two guns pointed right on her. Sharks encircle some villains after one of them is wounded and bleeding in the water. Besides all the adventure, there's an important message about families: The Kidd siblings each have their own strengths, but they value one another (and even cheer one another up when they make mistakes). Cartoon-like black-and white illustrations by Juliana Neufeld add to the fun and make for smooth sailing, even for reluctant readers.
Is It Any Good?
Treasure hunting makes for a fun premise, of course, and the Kidd's constant run-ins with scuba ninjas, a Pirate King, and other crazy characters keeps TREASURE HUNTERS sailing along. Plus, most tween readers will enjoy getting to know the resourceful and loyal Kidd siblings: Handsome flirt Tommy is great at sailing the boat, overweight Storm is great with the computers and has a photographic memory, Bick, the older of a pair of strong-willed (and often arguing) twins is writing the story, and his twin Beck is the artist who illustrates his perspective -- offering her own take, as well. There's a lot of of gunplay throughout the the story, but the Kidds also use their other skills to get out of jams (Storm uses her knowledge of maritime law to outwit a police officer, for example). Some readers might be surprised at how quickly the Kidd kids move on after their father's sudden disappearance, but all in all, this first installment offers a smart setup for an adventurous, multi-volumed middle-grade series. Don't look for anything super deep in this first book, but it's certainly entertaining enough, and even educational at times as the Kidds look for (and sometimes find) historical artifacts. The big font and cartoon-like black-and-white illustrations that permeate the book and break up the text -- along with plenty of swashbuckling adventure on the high seas -- make this a good choice for reluctant readers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.