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For Readers Age 9 - 12
Grades 4th - 8th

The 39 Clues Book 9: Storm Warning- Review
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Publisher's Summary:

Park, Linda Sue. (2010) The 39 Clues Book 9: Storm Warning. New York, NY: Scholastic.  ISBN-13: 978-0545060493 recommends age 9-12 but fun for all ages.

 Publisher Description:  Throughout the hunt for the 39 Clues, Amy and Dan have encountered some of the darkest aspects of history . . . and had to deal with the role their family played. But are they ready for the truth? In this thrilling ninth installment, Amy and Dan hit the high seas as they follow the trail of some infamous ancestors to track down a long lost treasure. However, the real prize isn’t hidden in a chest. It's the discovery of the Madrigals' most dangerous secret and, even more shockingly, the true identity of the mysterious man in black. 


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.

Park’s story is very strong in examples of respect for self and others. They constantly deliberate the possible consequences of their actions in reaching a decision. In the car, they are concerned with how their escape may cause harm to others. In deliberating how to get hold of the box, all three characters considering stealing but really don’t want to, plus don’t want to cause Lester to lose his job.  They arrange for medical care when antagonists are injured.  Auxiliary characters such as Lester and his grandmother also exemplify selflessness and honesty. And rather than attempting to physically overcome opponents, Amy uses kindness and collaboration to escape leaving others unharmed.   

Nellie’s character is greatly expanded, showing much remorse, pity and compassion for the kids.

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?”

Authority figures were minimized in this story but not really necessary to the plot. As in the past, Amy and Dan outwitted and maneuvered to escape cruel cousins, and the bad guys were appropriately behaved as bad! People of good moral character such as Lester and his grandmother were shown respect and honor. The foundation of good attitude (and absence of bad attitude in the characters) supported a general atmosphere of respect.

Citizenship and 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.

Amy and Dan’s concern for their own heritage as Madrigals, which they were led to believe were evil people, leads them to consider how it affects their own behaviour. As Cahills and as citizens of the world, they contemplate how to prevent bad things from happening. There is, then, an underlying theme of family pride and obligation to society.

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?”

“Not revenge, justice. And not for us and our parents, but for the whole world.” Throughout the story we see Amy, Dan, Lester, Nellie and other characters facing a choice to act selflessly or self-focused, and choosing to be selfless.  Evil continues to be present and a constant strong force, keeping the characters on their toes. But rather than succumbing to evil tactics themselves, the “good guys” use their wits to win.  Thus good outweighs evil with just enough presence of evil to present a dilemma to solve with justice.

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.

The one thing missing from this book is aesthetics. Past books either had humour or rich cultural and geographic descriptions. We not only felt in the present situation but also the richness presented by understanding past history of the setting. However, there are no dark or offensive elements, and the action is well described.

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.

No questionable or potentially offensive elements. A good story without hidden agendas, simply focused on an exciting adventure!

So what do YOU think? Read our thoughts on the book and join in the discussion: Litland's Blog 39 Clues Book 9   

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