Friday, February 6, 2009

Book Review: Enigma: A Magical Mystery, by Graeme Base

Young Bertie Badger's Grandpa was a conjurer of note,
With magic spells and magic wand and magic hat and coat.
A Master of Illusion, an Ambassador of Fate,
The famous, one and only, world-renowned Gadzooks the Great.

Bertie Badger has great fun visiting his grandpa at the Retirement Home for Elderly Magicians, and watching him do his magic tricks. But one day, Grandpa greets him at the door with terrible news: someone has stolen his special magical props. In fact, the thief has stolen everyone's magical props. And worse still, Grandpa's beloved magic bunny rabbit is missing, too. Bertie is determined to get to the bottom of things. Will he find all the missing props? And who is behind this disappearing act?

For Teachers and Librarians:
Little guys love magic, and Enigma: A Magical Mystery will be great fun for them. Older kids thrill in trying to solve mysteries, and Enigma is full of clues, hints, mystery, and code. As is usual in a Graeme Base book, have your students look closely at the colorful and detailed pictures for the hidden clues and interesting goings-on shoehorned into each and every page. 

This is a great book to use with a mystery unit: have kids identify the components of a mystery story; let them keep detective booklets to keep track of all the possible clues they find within, both in text and pictures; have them create a list of questions to ask the theft victims, then let them play parts and act out their questioning; create a class chart to keep track of the clues they find on their own, discussing how they think the clues will or won't help solve the mystery; have them come up with possible solutions to the mystery and back up their positions. Use the letter at the end of the book to crack the code and discover the hiding places of each item.

You can use this book to fit curriculum in a variety of ways: reading genre (mystery), analytical thinking, math (code), deductive reasoning (figuring out the clues), poetry (the story is in verse), rhyming pairs and phonics, art appreciation (color schemes used in each scene, pictures hidden in the illustrations), components of magic shows (the various methods of magic performers employ)...and so much more.

But most of all, use this book to let your kids have fun with a story, and enjoy reading or having it read to them.

For Parents, Grandparents and Caregivers:
Enigma: A Magical Mystery is the perfect book to get you and your kiddos involved in a sweet story, and have fun activities to do, as well. The story portrays a great example of how a kid can be helpful, shows a positive family relationship, provides a priceless opportunity for you and the kids to bend heads over the book and eagerly search for hidden pictures and clues, and will get you working together to break a code and solve a mystery. With beautiful illustrations, a fun story told in rhyme, and an opportunity for family togetherness, what's not to like?

For the Kids:
Do you love finding clues and solving mysteries? Do you think it's fun to find hidden pictures and solve codes? Do you think magic is totally cool? If so, then Enigma: A Magical Mystery is the book for you! Bertie Badger's grandpa is a retired magician, but he still does shows for Bertie. One day, Grandpa's magical props go missing - and so does his magical bunny rabbit. Will Bertie be able to find them? Can he figure out who took everything? You will find clues in the pictures, and can help find the missing props by solving a secret code. The author and illustrator, Graeme Base, has even hidden little pictures within each big picture for you to have fun searching and finding! What are you waiting for? Go find this book!

Wrapping Up:
Enigma: A Magical Mystery is a warm and fuzzy story packed with magic, mystery, hidden pictures, and a secret code. It's a book sure to be a favorite with the kids, and a great addition to anyone's Graeme Base book collection.

Note: To find out more about author and illustrator Graeme base, click here: Author Spotlight: Graeme Base

To read my review of another Graeme Base title, click here: Book Review: The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery

Title: Enigma: A Magical Mystery
Author and Illustrator: Graeme Base
Pages: 48
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Publisher and Date: Abrams Books for Young Readers, September 1, 2008
Edition: 1st
Language: English
Published In: United States
Price: $19.95
ISBN-10: 081097245X
ISBN-13: 978-0810972452

1 comment:

  1. what a great idea for a blog! like half the planet...or maybe half of america...i've been wanting to get together a children's book..but ended up writing a blog that's probably rated pg13 at best...with cartoons that at least look like they are meant for kids! hurray!

    anyway, thanks for all the cool links. I still like to hear about new kids books that are out there...


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