Sent: Jack and Annie for the older crowd

March 29, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Sent (The Missing: Book 2) by Margaret Peterson Haddix; published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York; 2009.

Jonah and his sister Katherine clung desperately to Chip as he fell through time, back to 1483. Chip and Alex, two of history’s missing children, were returning to the time of their birth, back into the lives of the Princes locked in the Tower of London. Jonah’s a missing child too, adopted centuries out of his birth year, and he and his sister have promised to keep Chip (and ultimately Alex) safe. The question is, how can they do that? How can they preserve the original timeline but save their friends? While they are figuring that out, they are getting a first-hand lesson in 15th Century customs, culture and royal intrigue.

I found Sent a completely different kind of book than Found, the first book in The Missing series. A mash-up of fantasy and historical fiction, this book combined my two favorite genres (with a dash of mystery and suspense thrown in as well). As I predicted in my review of Found (http://3amoeba.wordpress.com/?s=the+missing+book+1), this book read like Jack and Annie from Magic Tree House had grown up. For those fans who have also grown up, I’m hopeful that The Missing will provide a long series of stories to sate their appetites.

I savored the historical setting, and appreciated Haddix’s author’s note about the historical research she conducted, especially her reference to the impact of primary documents. Her explanations as to how she filled in the missing pieces is also relevant and provides an opportunity for teaching information literacy and research techniques. I predict the middle schoolers who pick up this book will be more impressed by the fantasy elements and the mystery than the reality of life in 15th Century England. But maybe their curiosity about what really happened to the Princes in the Tower will spur them on to read some nonfiction on the subject. Hmmm, I wonder if Margaret Peterson Haddix is interested in someone to ghostwrite nonfiction companions for this series?! I’d apply for that job in a heartbeat! Hmm, I also think that a wise librarian would collaborate with middle school language arts and social studies teachers to use this book in cross-curricular activities….

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Entry filed under: Science Fiction or Fantasy. Tags: , , , .

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