From the book's blurb: "The Jewel of Peru is a magical adventure through time, taking young Captain Christopher and his loyal crew of orphaned stowaways on a perilous quest in search of Christopher's missing parents.After his father's ship is found abandoned at sea, Christopher makes an unexpected discovery on board—The Ultimate Treasure Chest! Inside is a message that beckons him to set sail after the treasure and his parents. When a savage pirate and a corrupt businessman join forces to steal the treasure for themselves, the gang gets caught up in pirate chases, time travel, and an underground network of spies. Will Christopher find the Jewel and his parents, or will all be lost for ever?"
The Jewel of Peru is exciting fiction written for the mid-to-upper elementary student. Most of the characters are of the same age as the elementary age students for whom the book is written. As I read I could picture fourth graders reading and responding to the story, the characters, and the author's use of words. So many of them were say aloud, repeat often words, usually noise or action words, that would grab a youngster's imagination and allow him or her to be a part of the story.
While the story is fiction, it is so very educational without weighing the reader down with fact after fact. The reader will learn about Peru, certainly, but also about life of different cultures, life at sea, geography, and working together as a team.
Throughout the story there is the mystery to solve and the young cast of characters, as diverse as any classroom, must solve riddles in order to solve the mystery. I know readers will try to figure out the meaning of the riddle before one of the characters does so.
Throughout the story, a kindly old sea captain, a friend of Christopher's family, is the adult guiding force.
This is the first in a series. I look forward to the other books as I am sure students will. For teachers and parents, this is a great series to introduce to your students, especially your reluctant readers. I believe it will engage their imagination and leave them wanting to read more. The book was a gift to me. I will now pass it own to my fourth grade grandson and his classmates.