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Kaleidoscope Eyes [Kindle Edition]

Jen Bryant
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $5.98
You Save: $1.01 (14%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

Will Lyza’s 1968 summer mystery lead to . . . pirate treasure?

When Lyza helps her dad clean out her late grandfather’s house, a mysterious surprise brightens the sad task. In Gramps’s dusty attic, Lyza discovers three maps, carefully folded and stacked, bound by a single rubber band. On top, an envelope says “For Lyza ONLY.” What could this possibly be? It takes the help of her two best friends, Malcolm and Carolann, to figure out that the maps reveal three possible spots in their own New Jersey town where Captain Kidd (the Captain Kidd, seventeenth-century pirate) may have buried a treasure. Can three thirteen-year-olds actually conduct a secret treasure hunt? And what will they find?

In a tale inspired by a true story of buried treasure, Jen Bryant weaves an emotional and suspenseful novel in poems, all set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War during a pivotal year in U.S. history.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The summer of 1968 provides a fertile backdrop for Bryant’s verse novel about Lyza, her friends, and their hunt for Captain Kidd’s lost treasure in a New Jersey neighborhood. While cleaning out her recently deceased, thrill-seeking grandfather’s house, Lyza finds a plain envelope with her name on it. Inside are maps and vague clues about one last adventure that he saved for her. Lyza enlists her friends Malcolm and Carolann, “a tall, shy black guy and a small, hyperactive white girl,” swearing them to secrecy. Their sneaking around leads to a grounding, which leads to more sneaking around. For a story involving pirate treasure, it takes awhile to pick up speed. The poetry format doesn’t always seem purposeful, and the ending is implausible. However, the characters are endearing and the setting is vivid. The events of the small town filter into the teens’ lives in realistic ways: Malcolm’s older brother is drafted, Lyza’s older sister is a hippie, and boys they know are killed in the war or come home changed forever. Grades 5-7. --Heather Booth


Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2009:
"Readers will fall under the spell of the delicious plot."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, May 25, 2009:
“Sincere and well-paced, with the backdrop of a tumultuous period in history, the story is not easily forgotten.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 449 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375840486
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00285RCGK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,797 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kaleidoscope Eyes: An Amazing Novel in Verse June 21, 2010
Kaleidoscope Eyes by Jen Bryant is the second novel in verse I've read in the past week. I was trying to explain to my daughter, who was quite interested in the layout as she was paging through it, how very interesting these books are. While it may seem easier to compose a story with so few words, my thoughts after reading Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards just a few days ago and Kaleidoscope Eyes by Jen Bryant today, is that writing a story with so few words may actually be more difficult. Each phrase conveys so much. Writing up a short summary of these books has left me feeling as though I cannot clearly communicate the many facets of either story adequately.
Kaleidoscope Eyes is set during the Vietnam War.
The cast of characters includes:
Lyza, who is a teenager coping with her mother's absence, trying to grow up. Her grandfather passes away, leaving an envelope only for her. The information in the envelope leads her and her friends on the hunt for a buried treasure that Captain Kidd, a pirate, buried near her New Jersey town.
Denise - Lyza's sister, is busy dating Hairy Harry, a long-haired war protester, and listening to Janice Joplin. The sisters are often at odds, and Denise is truly a vision of sixties pop culture.
Their father is a professor at a local college, working long hours to repay the debts their mother accumulated before deserting her family. While he is against the war, he is quiet about his feelings in order to keep his job.
Malcolm, Lyza's good friend, is an African American male, whose brother, Dexter, gets drafted to go to war. Both acknowledge that his race may put him where the worst fighting is taking place.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Mystery June 17, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really liked this book because it was a mystery without being violent. It was good reading and held my interest throughout.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Zacary Weaver August 28, 2013
By Zacaryy
This book was about Lyza and her dad having to clean up her gramps house after gramps dies. Lyza found these three maps leading to treasure along with a letter marked for her only. Two friends helped Lyza to find the treasure, it took them the entire summer to go on this adventure. They find the treasure, which includes gold and coins, and they decided to split it into 3 piles. The books ends with Lyza visiting her gramps grave site and telling him about their summer with the treasure. I liked this book because it had a lot of adventure and mystery in it. This made me want to read more and more. My favorite part of the book was when they found the treasure. This made me feel happy and excited for them. I was also surprised there was an actual treasure. There was one part of the book that I did not like, it was when there was a picture with blood on it. The picture was from Vietnam. I think other kids going into 6th grade would like reading this book. I plan to read other books by this author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I wasn't expecting this book to be so good! July 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was assigned to me for my summer reading and it was amazing. It was so good that I couldn't stop reading so I finished it in 1 day. This book is amazing and you should read it!
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More About the Author

Jen Bryant writes picture books, novels and poems for readers of all ages. Her biographical picture book: A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, illustrated by Melissa Sweet,received a Caldecott Honor award and her historical novel in verse Ringside 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial is an Oprah Recommended Book for ages 12 & up. Other titles include Pieces of Georgia (IRA Young Adult Choices Pick), The Trial (about the 1935 Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial), a 1960's-era novel Kaleidoscope Eyes (a Jr. Library Guild selection), Georgia's Bones, celebrating the creative vision of artist Georgia O'Keeffe, Music for the End of Time, based on a true story about WWII, and Abe's Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln.

Jen has taught writing and Children's Literature at West Chester University and Bryn Mawr College and gives lectures, workshops and school presentations throughout the year. She lives with her family in Chester County, PA.


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