Wade and the Scorpion's Claw

224p. (The Copernicus Archives: Bk. 1). HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Sept. 2014. pap. $3.99. ISBN 9780062314727.
Gr 4–6—Readers meet Wade Kaplan and his father, stepbrother Darrell, cousin Lily, and Lily's best friend, Becca in this multi-volume series opener. They are traveling on an airplane from Guam to Hawaii, and have become involved in a quest to find 12 relics that were collected by Nicolas Copernicus and could be used for time travel. Copernicus has separated the objects in order to prevent the evil Knights of the Teutonic Order from using the astrolabe (time travel machine) for their own purposes. To complicate matters, Sara Kaplan, Wade's stepmother and Darrell's mother, has been kidnapped. Now the family must find the relics, piece the puzzle together, ward off the evil Knights, and save Sara. Each character has a specific, though suspiciously convenient, strength that allows them to assist in the search. From Hawaii, where members of the Knights threaten, they fly to San Francisco where most of the story takes place. This is a good mystery/adventure book with just enough suspense; readers are never more "in the know" than the characters. Some clues are presented with puzzles, Chinese characters, or a rebus. The plot moves quickly, doesn't have too much blood and gore, and ends on an exciting note that will leave kids excited for the next installment.—Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City

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