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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality, engaging middle-grades book with history and mystery
I absolutely adore Kate Messner's writing. I really enjoyed EYE OF THE STORM and CAPTURE THE FLAG was no disappointment either. One of the things I like most about Kate Messner's books is that she writes smart, honest, real characters. In this book they read, they write, one is a genius at video games, but they all have many layers to their characters without getting...
Published on July 16, 2012 by Mrs. Heise

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad story.
Anna, Jose', and Henry don't know each other, but they're about to share an adventure in a snowed in airport. It seems that a very old American Flag, that's important to history has gone missing, and the three of them feel that the flag is hidden at the airport someplace, and they need to find the flag and clear the names of innocent people who are being blamed for the...
Published on August 1, 2012 by Reacher Creature


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality, engaging middle-grades book with history and mystery, July 16, 2012
This review is from: Capture the Flag (Hardcover)
I absolutely adore Kate Messner's writing. I really enjoyed EYE OF THE STORM and CAPTURE THE FLAG was no disappointment either. One of the things I like most about Kate Messner's books is that she writes smart, honest, real characters. In this book they read, they write, one is a genius at video games, but they all have many layers to their characters without getting overly emotionally involved as would happen in more young adult books. Her cast of characters is also multicultural allowing more kids to relate to the teens they're reading about in the books. I also appreciate that although there is a main female character, there are two male characters in prominent roles also, so there is gender-neutral appeal to this book.

Another great thing about her books is the cross-curricular connections she makes. Especially in CAPTURE THE FLAG where there are many social studies/history ties to be made. In this book she has written a multilayered story with an intriguing mystery. I figured it out early on, but it is written for 3rd-7th graders, and I think it will appeal to them-especially if they're fans of heist stories. It's a fun story as the group is stuck overnight in an airport and as the kids band together to try to find the stolen flag, scene after scene builds up tension and humor as they find their way into all sorts of hidden places within the airport. It also has an exciting secret society aspect to it. I could see this turning into a great series. I know there's a sequel, but I hope there will be more than just one more book in this series. These could be characters who could solve these National Treasure (the movie) type mysteries in all different kinds of situations and meet other members of the society.

Kate Messner just has great writing. There are wonderful descriptions of things and exciting scenes/action, but still written at a level that middle schoolers will easily understand. CAPTURE THE FLAG has a great title and cover design sure to appeal to the intended audience. If you haven't read a Kate Messner book yet, and you're interested in middle grades books, I encourage you to do so soon, and CAPTURE THE FLAG would be a great start!

Review originally posted on Heise Reads & Recommends.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classroom Read-Aloud, September 30, 2012
By 
Library-Centers (San Antonio, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Capture the Flag (Hardcover)
What do I like so much about Capture the Flag? I personally find history fascinating, but I have a hard time selling "historical fiction" to most of our elementary school students. It seems dry and distant to them, and they have a hard time connecting to events in our past. Capture the Flag is a fast-paced mystery/adventure, set in contemporary time, but it includes historical details. These details will tie in with what students are studying in the classroom, and stir their interest in American history.

The characters are believable middle school students (not sugary sweet, not juvenile delinquents) who find themselves in the midst of an intriguing crime. Someone has stolen the original Star Spangled Banner flag from the Smithsonian, and the three students are snowed in at a Washington, D.C. airport with the criminals and other interesting travelers. It's like the National Treasure movies, but with kids instead of adults solving the puzzle. I found that it was written at the right level for students to figure out the mystery at the same pace that the characters do, and to feel clever as they make those inferences.

Fourth and fifth grade teachers at our school have been reading this book aloud to our students and thoroughly enjoying it. If you are a teacher or librarian, consider buying Capture the Flag to encourage your students' interest in history!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Mystery for Middle School Readers!, July 7, 2012
This review is from: Capture the Flag (Hardcover)
Kate Messner has done it again! She has written a brilliant, high-interest, middle grade mystery that will have middle schoolers turning the pages. Unlike Eye of the Storm, Sugar and Ice, and The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., this novel is a mystery with tidbits of interesting American history sprinkled throughout from start to finish. Like the others, this novel will keep the young reader's attention until the final pages.

Three believable youngsters, named Anna, Henry, and Jose, meet up at the Washington, DC airport after attending a gala at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. After becoming acquaintances, the kids learn that the original American flag (inspired The Star Spangled Banner) was stolen during the gala. With some persuading, Anna talks Henry and Jose into an adventure to uncover the truth about the heist of this American gem of an artifact. Along the way, the kids begin to learn about each other and form a friendship that will lead them to protect each other at any and all costs.

The young reader will be thrilled to find out that Messner's resolution leaves the possibility for another adventure, a sequel, which will surely be another page-turner. As a middle school teacher, this is one book that I can't wait to put into the hands of a sixth and seventh grader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book!, February 6, 2013
This review is from: Capture the Flag (Hardcover)
I have never read and of the books written by this author in the past, but if they were as well written as this one I am looking forward to reading more. This book was a great intriguing mystery that ties history and fiction together and provides the reader with a thrill ride from beginning to end. I know that I'm reading this with my daughter her attention was complete and she did not want me to stop once we started. I was impressed with the characters as well as the detailed plot that the author provides her readers as it draws you into the story and doesn't let go. The book was highly enjoyable and the energy and adventure shared within the book are contagious. I came to really enjoy the characters within this book and my daughter even asked if there were other books with the same characters and it. I for one hope that in the future these characters may make a return.

*I received a copy of this book in return for a honest review, however this did not effect what you have read above*
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK, March 19, 2013
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This review is from: Capture the Flag (Kindle Edition)
WOW! What a great book about a crime. IT even has real details about real museums and airports. Definitely would recommend to any reader, young or old.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very exciting, March 15, 2013
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This review is from: Capture the Flag (Kindle Edition)
All I can say is that I loved it. I think Ms. Kate Messner did a great job. I loved it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars class book, March 14, 2013
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This review is from: Capture the Flag (Kindle Edition)
I have used this book with one of my reading groups in 5th grade. They are loving the mystery! This books gives many opportunities for great discussions and debates.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Capture the Reader, January 19, 2013
By 
Kate Coombs (Utah, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Capture the Flag (Hardcover)
Messner's book is a locked-room mystery in the sense that a bunch of people is trapped in an airport because of a snowstorm. Among those people are four kids who, after initial disinterest, team up to solve a mystery: someone has stolen the historic American flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner." Each of the kids has some sort of connection to the flag. To start with, all four of them were at a museum reception for the flag exhibit the evening before--and the flag was stolen that night. Anna's mother is a newscaster and her father is a Senator. She sees herself as a budding news reporter. José's mother worked on restoring the flag. Henry's aunt is a history buff, though Henry would far rather play video games. Sinan is the son of two members of an orchestra from Pakistan that performed at the exhibit--an orchestra that is eventually accused of stealing the flag. Sinan is the owner of a rambunctious poodle named Hammurabi, too.

Anna tries to get an interview with Senator Snickerbottom, who is also in the airport. He's leading up to a campaign for president. Then there's Snake Eye, a man with an odd tattoo who acts suspiciously. Throw in a couple of thugs while you're at it. Pretty soon Anna and her friends are sliding and hiding in the luggage area, where a lot of chase scenes in the book take place. Later we find out about a secret society.

The four kids are likable, each with his or her quirks. For example, as he learns English, Sinan keeps a notebook in which he draws pictures to help him remember expressions like "full of beans" and "killing time." These pictures are included in the book. Anna is intrepid, José is sweet but sturdy, and Henry is sucked into things against his will but proves helpful in the end. A lot of books have a main hero, but I liked meeting this ensemble cast.

Capture the Flag is a very kid-friendly book, with exciting yet ultimately non-perilous peril. I can easily see it being turned into a movie. I'll just end by saying that the book's title deserves to be in the Clever Title Hall of Fame.

First line: "They never should have unlocked the door."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great, January 8, 2013
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This review is from: Capture the Flag (Hardcover)
Great! This will work well with our school. It will meet the needs of our students and faculty as required.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In short and exciting chapters, Messner packs in plenty of thrills, September 12, 2012
By 
KidsReads (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Capture the Flag (Hardcover)
Anna, Henry and José may never have met each other if they hadn't been snowed in overnight at the airport. At first, it seems that they have nothing in common except for the electrical outlet they are arguing over and the snowstorm. But after just a moment of conversation, they realize that all three had been at the same gala event at the Smithsonian Museum the night before. As they get to talking, they find out that they have much more in common than being in the same places at the same times. In CAPTURE THE FLAG, Kate Messner's latest middle-grade chapter book, the new acquaintances embark on an adventure that deals with both America's past and its future.

The night before the storm strands Anna, Henry, José and many others at the airport, the Star Spangled Banner, the famous flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write what became the national anthem, is stolen. Anna, a budding political journalist and daughter of a senator and television reporter, is ready to investigate and talks the boys into joining her. Henry is sullen and sad at his father's new marriage and having to move to a new city, and José is a bookworm who prefers reading to action. But with nothing to do and a sense of patriotism and duty, the three begin to poke around the airport on the chance that the flag has been delayed by the storm just like all the travelers. And, as it turns out, all three are children of Silver Jaguars, an elite group of people, all descended from "ancestors who had crafted some of the most stunning artwork and conceived of some of the greatest inventions in history. Relatives who had taken a secret oath made a promise to protect the world's artifacts and passed that promise down through generations.

Before the snow stops falling, the seventh-graders are chasing an elusive enemy through the airport with an eight-year-old boy and his dog in tow. And as they watch others being falsely accused (including José's mother) of the conspiracy, they know they have no choice but to solve the mystery, find the real culprits, and save the flag before their planes are finally cleared for take-off. The task is large and dangerous, but working together they just may be able to do it.

In short and exciting chapters, Messner packs in plenty of thrills and a good amount of character development. The three heroes are interesting but not without quirks and realistic flaws. The Silver Jaguar storyline is fun and mysterious, and Messner leaves herself open to more books about them as Anna, Henry and José are made junior members of this ancient group. The pace is fast and the reading level fairly easy, but there are some tricky and thought-provoking themes as well, including immigration, personal and political responsibility, respect for cultural differences and historical artifacts, re-marriage, loneliness, the joy of books, and more.

CAPTURE THE FLAG is great fun. Sure to please young readers fond of American history, action/adventures and mysteries, this is a terrific start to a planned three-book series.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
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Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag by Kate Messner
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