39 clues book 4: Beyond the grave - Review
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Watson, Jude. (2009) The 39 Clues Book 4: Beyond The
Grave. ISBN-10: 0545060443
“A clue found in Book 3 sends Amy and Dan jetting off
to find out just what's behind the fierce rivalry
between the Tomas and Ekaterina branches of the Cahill
family. Was a clue stolen from the Tomas branch? Where
is it now? And most important, can Amy and Dan get their
hands on it before their rivals do? It's a wild race
that will take Amy and Dan deep into the bowels of the
earth . . . and right into the hands of the enemy.”
Respect for self and others:This
includes integrity (adherence to a code of
conduct or value system), honesty vs. manipulation or
lying, compassion, caring for others (characters not
focused on getting their way no matter what) self
respect--main character does not let others
denigrate him or her; use of self control and
self-discipline ; taking charge of own behaviour;
fairness to others (such as taking turns and
avoiding the blame game). Reader should ask themselves
“How does the protagonist depict their peers?” “Would
you want others to treat you this way? Should everyone
act this way?” This includes true friendships
that do not involve regular lying, deceit or
manipulation; considering consequences of actions
prior to acting; owning up to responsibility once
an action has been taken.
Amy and Dan demonstrate integrity by showing remorse for
past incidents of lying, cheating and stealing, and
worrying about becoming “like the rest of the Cahills”
in terms of poor behavior. Even when feuding, Dan and
Amy do not deceive or manipulate one another. Excellent
portrayal of the range of emotions these two go through,
expressing their feelings and anger, and eventually
working through the problem.
On an individual note, Amy continues to demonstrate in
self-talk her lack of self-esteem. However, it is never
self-denigrating nor leading to depression. Rather,
coupled with her outward behaviour of courage, strength
and determination, the reader feels a sense of hope or
optimism in spite of her realistic self-doubts.
Portrayal of Authority
figures:The positive portrayal of parents, teachers, police officers and other “good” authority figures common in a child’s life is a positive influence upon the child’s own moral development. This includes
actively-parenting mother and father figures. Minimization of parental involvement in the character’s activities or the portrayal of authority figures as
inferior present poor role models. Also to be avoided are main characters that
deceive parents and teachers to accomplish goals, and overuse
sarcasm towards authority figures. Ask yourself “Are parents seen as positive or negative influence in the character's life?”
Good presentation of authority figures again in
this book. The main characters thoughtfully consider
calling the police, handling it very matter-of-fact as
proper and assumed. No disrespectful behaviour towards
any authorities or adults occurs, in spite of having to
outwit adults numerous times to escape.
Although characters are angry at Uncle Alastair for a
perceived betrayal, they do not show disrespect to him.
Patriotism:Loyalty to family, team or group, school, community and world; caring for and being considerate of these
groups. Pride to be part of that group or nationality.
Strong loyalty to family exists both in their
discomfort with considering a beloved grandmother as
possibly dishonest, as well as family bonds being more
important than hurt feelings. Amy and Dan’s relationship
is put to the test in this book and handled extremely
Justice and Balance:A just distribution between good and evil (with
good outweighing evil in the presence of the storyline);
demonstration of right and wrong; making decisions to enact the above values rather than simply choosing from two bad possibilities; Ask yourself “Is the emphasis on the positive elements or negative?”
Overall, the “good” characters (Amy, Dan, Nellie,
and Uncle Alastair) continue to make good judgements.
Although this book is action packed and they keep
running into old enemies around every corner while also
making new ones, the good far outweighs the bad as these
kids time and time again outsmart the “bad guys”.
Aesthetic aspects Of
life ExperienceLook for a storyline portrayal of
beauty, health, and selfless love vs. hedonistic behaviours (sexuality, selfishness, obsessiveness, materialism),
profanity, gore and violence. Are nature and environment respected or exploited? Look for
dark elements; watch out for humor that is negative, denigrates others excessively, uses metaphors to
denigrate the sacred.
What book three gave us in humor, book 4 gives us
in adventure. The action is ongoing, with every
slightest move described. Thus no need for gore or
violence as, through excellent description, the reader
feels as if they are the character in action.
Cousin Wizard, whose character in book 2 was
over-fraught with slang and such negativity that his
depiction was like a stereotype-gone-wild, is presented
here as a more believable, yet still conniving and
dishonest, self-centered tween entertainer. Well done.
Egyptian history is treated with respect. The book is
rich with detail.
Other things to
Consider:Other aspects of this book of interest or importance. For example, does it portray Wiccan practices and accurate use of tools of which some parents might object, does it contain
hidden meanings in metaphors that may prove offensive to some families; does it address
personal issues such as puberty or pregnancy.
This book is excellent both in what it portrays
(relationships, loyalty, action, history, mystery) as
well as what it leaves out (no hidden agendas). A very
So what do YOU think? Read our thoughts on the book and join in the discussion
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