Monday, June 27, 2011
The Red Blazer Girls: Ring of Rocamadour By Michael Beil
Description from Goodreads.com Ring of Rocamadour
It all began with The Scream. And ended with . . . well, if we told you that, it wouldn’t be a mystery! But in between The Scream and The Very Surprising Ending, three friends find themselves on a scavenger hunt set up for a girl they never met, in search of a legendary ring reputed to grant wishes. Are these sleuths in school uniforms modern-day equivalents of Nancy, Harriet, or Scooby? Not really, they’re just three nice girls who decide to help out a weird lady, and end up hiding under tables, tackling word puzzles and geometry equations, and searching rather moldy storage rooms for “the stuff that dreams are made of” (that’s from an old detective movie). Oh, and there’s A Boy, who complicates things. As boys often do.Intrigued? The Red Blazer Girls offers a fun, twisty adventure for those who love mystery, math (c’mon, admit it!), and a modest measure of mayhem.Michael Beil, a New York City high school English teacher, makes his literary debut with this fun and brainy mystery
One day in class like any other day, Sophie looks out the window at school and thinks she sees a ghost in the window of the building next door and screams. She and her friends decide that during lunch they are going to investigate. They end up sneaking through the church and "breaking in" to the upper floors which connect the church to the adjacent building where the old Ms. Harriman resides. Ms Harriman of course finds them snooping and befriends them. Eventually Ms Harriman decides to send these girls on a quest to find a missing birthday present that her father and meant to pass on to her daughter before he passed. But sadly the first note with the clues on how to find the present had been stored in a book and left for 20 years. As the girls solve one clue it leads them to another clue.
What I loved about this story is that the girls are hilarious. I found myself very amused with the dialogue and their reactions. They had me laughing in every chapter.
The thing I found different in this book than others that are similar, is the way the clues are handled. The girls have to solve several types of problems, English, Math, etc. But the way that the book is written the girls explain the problems as they work through them. I of course would not have figured out these things on my own if I had to, but they all were very logical and interesting. I felt very accomplished when I found the answer to one of the clues before they did, then there was a twist I didn't see coming adding to my enjoyment of the puzzle. I was amazed the girls could figure out the very educational clues and seemed very advanced for their ages. (7th grade).
I learned as I read and not only that, I found out new things that I want to continue exploring. For example I think I found a brand new interest in reading the classics, especially Dickens. There was even a chapter or two with math equations and you HAD to work out the problem to continue reading. (you will not be graded of course) and they walk you through the answer in the next chapter. With graphs as well as verbal explanations.
I highly recommend these books, fantastic reads, very entertaining and enjoyable. I felt like I was one of their group and on a fantastic treasure hunt working through the clues along with them.
My favorite clue of this book was:
Because: 1) It was the easiest one to solve. AND 2) I got to learn something new! ( hint: Ovisaries )
I was so proud of myself for solving it pages ahead of them, but I was still stumped because I did not know what Ovisaries was, but through the girls I learned something new!