A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Professor Kidd and his wife have raised their four children on the boat from which they travel around the world seeking treasure. But after their mom goes missing in Cyprus and their father disappears -- and possibly drowns -- during a storm, the kids decide to stay on the boat and continue their work. Along the way, they face constant peril from both the authorities and a band of scuba ninjas led by their father's nemesis, a fellow treasure hunter named Nathan Collier. But as they work together using their unique talents (Tommy is good at sailing, Storm is a genius and good with computers, and brother-sister twins Bick and Beck are tough and hardworking), they continue to discover real treasure. They also discover some big family secrets -- and even a way to get their mother back.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about treasure hunting. Why is it such a popular theme in literature? What other books have you read that involve pirates or other kinds of treasure hunters?
What do you think's fun about writing a series? Why do publishers like publishing them? Why do you think they're so popular with kids?
Do you plan to read the next book in the Treasure Hunters series? Do you plan to read all the books?
- Authors: James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein
- Illustrator: Juliana Neufeld
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: September 16, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 480
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.