I was attracted to the 39 Clues when I first heard there would be 10 books each featuring a popular author including Gordon Korman, Rick Riordan, Patrick Carman, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Linda Sue Park. I could immediately see, not only the tie-ins with these authors other books, but also the nonfiction piece since orphan main chracters, Amy and Dan Cahill, travel around the world solving clues in a race against time and family! I was less interested in the internet connection – you could play the 39 Clues online game using cards found in each book – but thought some students might like that addition.
But, it wasn’t until I discovered the audiobooks, read by David Pittu, that I was totally and completely hooked on these books! Why, you say? Let me count the ways:
- First, the audiobooks are short – averaging about 4 hours each. Students can check them out and finish a book in two weeks only listening to the book 4 nights a week for 30 minutes a night. For some students who do not overly enjoy reading, this is a huge selling point. Not only is the time commitment short but they can actually finish a book!
- Pittu does great voices for Dan and Amy as well as all the cousins. I love his snooty cousin Ian voice and his musclehead voice for cousin Hamilton. I even like his “cool” voice for cousin Jonah, the African American rock star! Throw in a few sound effects and you’ve got a great CD going.
- There are many ways to be smart! Amy and Dan are both smart but in different ways. Dan has this photographic memory and always wants to be doing something or going somewhere. Amy likes to read and study. They, and the cousins, are all smart in different ways and so bring different skills to the table. Each is valuable to the cause. This is even more evident in the spin-off series as Amy and Dan rely on the rest of the family to make sure they get the help they need to solve the mysteries.
- The mysteries. About the only thing missing from the audiobooks are the pictures of some of the documents the characters are investigating. Pittu does a fine job of describing them to you though. We use these documents, text messaging, Skyping, and email to solve the clues and I’m always trying to figure out what’s what before Dan and Amy do!
I can hardly wait until March 2013 for the release of Day of Doom (Cahills vs Vespers, 6) by David Baldacci!
Book title links to Amazon Associates.