- Age Range: 10 - 16 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 11
- Series: Secret Scouts (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 300 pages
- Publisher: Mokum Media (October 30, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9082875608
- ISBN-13: 978-9082875607
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Secret Scouts and The Lost Leonardo Hardcover – October 30, 2018
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“A Dan Brown for children. Secret Scouts is the kind of gripping adventure every teenager would love to experience.”(Elsevier Elsevier)
About the Author
Dennis Kind and Wendel Kind
Dennis Kind and Wendel Kind form one of the few writing duos in children’s literature. Writing from their home in Amsterdam which they share with their three young kids, they transform a fascination for art, culture and history into compelling literary stories. Feel-good stories that revolve around friendship, adventure and mystery, set in fascinating cities and time periods across the world.
Our goal is to create intriguing adventure stories based on strange but true facts. Exciting stories that fascinate, astonish, provoke, pique curiosity, but most of all stories that kids can effortlessly learn from and lose themselves in. In our stories, young readers bear witness to key moments in history. By looking over the shoulders of our protagonists, they experience history as it is being made.
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A great plot, realistic characters and a very good style writing, neat and detailed.
As an adult I can say this novel is very enjoyable and entertaining.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
It’s about a gaggle of kids, who, as kids in 80s movies were prone to do, stumbled onto a mystery. In this case, it’s a mystery about Leonardo Da Vinci, and the book proceeded to school me on Da Vinci stuff that I did not know about.
Sure, Dan Brown named a whole code after Da Vinci, but there’s more. Da Vinci kept busy.
The story’s setup is very much in the style of Explorers, or even E.T., and I mean that as a compliment. It’s also crammed full of factual stuff, which is a good way to cram education into a book about kids and historical mysteries.
This book, the first in a series, is fun for the young ones and the old ones and any variety of age, really. It’s just fun.
Lisa and Sophie are given a framed sketch from a neighbor who says it is one that used to hang up in the girls’ old farmhouse and she wanted it to be returned and hung up there again. But Sophie insists that the sketches look the same as the ones in an old book of their father’s, and while they are looking for it, they accidentally find a secret room! In the secret room they see a large canvas, some glass globes a case, a vial of water and an old book. The book is very old, it is leather, it has many sketches and notes in it, along with the initials LDV.
You will have to read the story for yourself to find out if the sketches were Leonardo’s, and what happens when the kids learn that Leonardo invented a time traveling machine!
Tom, Lisa, Sophie and Jack were just having a fun afternoon together, when a sketch given to them by their neighbor sets them off on a series of searches. Eventually it leads them to the biggest discovery of their lives.
It’s clear that Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo is intended to be for children. While it is witty and clever, its tone is kept lighter for obvious reasons. The facts that are included are not so in depth as to force a fourth grader’s eyes to glaze over. Even as an adult I found myself amused by the discoveries and antics the children got up to.
The book starts off with a series of art history facts that quickly become the basis for the mystery the children find themselves into. I’m not sure if everybody would take the time to read these tidbits, but I did, and they really did help establish the setting. It also gave the sense that the whole book was grounded in fact, thus making it all more plausible.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this book. From the discoveries, to the trips and adventures the kids go on. One wouldn’t expect a book that’s basically an art history mystery to involve time travel, but sometimes little surprises like that can be a lot of fun.
The writing itself is exceptionally descriptive. The Dennis and Wendel Kind really take the time to paint the scene for you, no pun intended (okay, maybe a little bit of a pun intended). The sheer number of details brought into the mix makes it hard to tell at points whether they’re basing it on fact or fiction, which further enhances the believability of the novel.
Tom, Lisa, Sophie, and Jack are exactly what we’d expect them to be; kids. Sure, they’re curious kids that do a fantastic job of getting themselves in absurd situations, but in the end they’re still kids. They act just like it too. Sometimes they’ll try and act all mature, but other times their emotions get the best of them, from getting over excited or frustrated and everything in between. Sometimes that means that they’ll pick on each other or, as siblings are known to do, intentionally pick fights or play pranks. Considering their ages, and the intended ages of the readers, this all makes perfect sense.
Oddly enough it was some of the adults that seemed the least realistic. Mostly I’m speaking about one character in particular. There’s a friend of the family that I just couldn’t like. He was too perfectly designed to fit the curiosity and needs of the children and their investigations. While helpful, it resulted in him coming off as slightly creepy (though I did love that he owned a Bengal cat).
This is a really fun mystery that will be perfect for children. I love that they added an art history element to it – who knows, maybe it’ll help create a new generation of art historian? The addition of some science fiction elements was a surprise, but I think it helped keep the plot moving forward as needed.
As an art history major I did find myself cringing at several points in the book – through no fault of the authors, that is. It hurt my heart to read about children handling such a classic book with no gloves and just shoving it in their backpack like that. I know it isn’t real, and it’s meant for kids that wouldn’t know better…but oh my poor heart! Seriously though, while it did induce mild cringing it would never have been enough to make me stop reading (as evidenced by the fact that I finished it).
The descriptive nature of the book was absolutely wonderful, especially when combined with the more whimsical moments. While it may lose the attention of some of the more casual young readers out there, I think any avid reader would devour the pages of this book (I know I would have).
It’s clear that Dennis and Wendel Kind are hoping that this will become a series, and I wish them the best in this endeavor. I don’t know if they’ll have the same children appear, as like Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys (though I hope that’s the case), or if they’ll create a new cast every time. Either way I think they’ve got a lot of potential, and I dearly hope they stick to the art history theme.
I can’t recommend this book enough for the curious young readers in our lives. That may be my bias and love of art history showing through, but I think it’s worth the read. That they use facts to support their fiction was a genius move, and will hopefully instill curiosity in its readers.
I reviewed this book for Word of the Nerd, so if you want to see more like this check them out!