Read, Collect, Play!

Scholastic Inc is one of the few publishing houses that have always had a good mix of books for young readers – from award-winning literature to pure entertainers like the ‘Goosebumps’ series. The latest from their kitty is ‘The 39 Clues’, a series which is now into its 11th book. It is quite a smashing success among young readers worldwide.

The books in the series are written by seven different authors, one more prolific than the other! Rick Riordan, the bestselling author of the ‘Percy Jackson’ series has written the first book, ‘Maze of Bones.’ The rest are written by Jude Watson (famous for her ‘Jedi’ books in ‘Star Wars’), Peter Lerangis (who ghost-wrote ‘Hardy Boys’ and ‘Three Investigators’), Gordan Korman, and others.

‘Maze of Bones’ starts with the billionaire widow Grace Cahill’s passing away. Her relatives gather in excitement to collect their inheritance and they are treated to a very strange will – they can either choose one million dollars or give up the money and get 39 clues scattered around the world! How on earth would 39 clues come close to a million dollars, you ask? Well, if someone can piece together the clues, a secret awaits them – a discovery that will make them the most powerful Cahill in the world.

The protagonists of the story are the good-natured, well-mannered and orphaned siblings, Dan and Amy Cahill. They are one among the seven teams of descendents who decide to pursue the clues in lieu of the money.  The story proceeds at breakneck speed as they plot and plan to crack the clues.

These books are complete entertainers. They also offer plenty of subtle lessons in history since the clues are cleverly hidden in art, music, literature, and architectural trivia. An advantage to the reader is the exposure to multiple authors. Children get to remain with their favourite characters and follow a familiar quest, and yet get to enjoy different styles of writing.

With ‘The 39 Clues’, Scholastic has made its foray into the world of online gaming. The website www.the39clues.com offers riddles and puzzles that children can solve to help Amy and Dan in their pursuit of the truth!

 To further the excitement, each book is supplemented with trading cards that have unique codes, and these codes are a necessity for gaming! ‘Read, Collect, Play’ is a well-engineered marketing strategy to extend a child’s interest in the series, and a welcome strategy at that, since the aim is to encourage children to read.

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