Treasure Hunters Book Poster Image

Treasure Hunters

Siblings search for artifacts, parents in fun series start.

What parents need to know

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

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).


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.


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.


Several uses of the word "butt." Also, overweight sister Storm gets called names by several mean people (one group makes "walrus and blubber jokes.")


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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Authors:James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein
Illustrator:Juliana Neufeld
Topics:Adventures, Brothers and sisters
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:September 16, 2013
Number of pages:480
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks

This review of Treasure Hunters was written by

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Teen, 15 years old Written byAppleSony March 4, 2014

Amazing Book!!

This a very good book. Porfainrty is displayed but not spelled out. Guns and smoking is shown pretty often throughout. Otherwise this is an amazing book!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bywazzuphi October 12, 2013

Treasure Hunters

i think the book is alright but watch out for the sexual content like the oldest brother always flirts with girls and is atrracted to a naked woman painting
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent of a 10 year old Written byyvonne17 April 2, 2015

Not a great book

I read this book to my 10 year old son. neither him or me thought that this was a great book. It was just okay. As for inappropriate content, it contains smoking & guns as well as quite a bit of flirting and sexual attraction between a boy and almost every girl he comes across. Maybe not a great book for the younger ones.