Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: The Mapmaker and The Ghost, by Sarvenaz Tash (Walker Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Recommended for ages 9-12

Goldenrod Moram wants to be an explorer and mapmaker like her hero, Meriweather Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame). When she decides to spend her summer making a map of the forest behind her home, she stumbles into an adventure that has been over a hundred years in the making. Before her summer vacation is over, she will find herself in trouble with a local group of troublemakers, The Gross-Out Gang, and she will meet a strange old lady with an interesting family connection. She will also meet her idol face to ghostly face!

The Mapmaker and the Ghost gives readers a new heroine in Goldenrod Moram. She's smart and gutsy, like many 'tweenage characters these days, but she is not on the hunt for treasure - she just wants to make maps like her idol, Meriweather Lewis. And how often do you hear Lewis and Clark coming up as a literary and historical idol? Readers get a look at an important figure in American history and learn a little more about who he is.

Some of the characters are predictable. The Gross-Out Gang, for instance, is made up of kids who come from a multitude of mixed backgrounds: the rich parents who have no time for their children; the divorced father in a deep depression who cannot focus on his daughter; and the kid who's been bounced around from foster home to foster home are all here. The ending is predictably light, but it gives the reader hope that every situation, when you use your brains and bring understanding and honesty to the situation, can work out for the best.

This is Ms. Tash's first book. Her website offers information about the book and a link to her blog. 

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