I have a lofty goal as a modern mother. I am hoping to keep Ramona away from Harry Potter.........until she is ready to hear the books and be able to comprehend the story. It will break my heart if she watches some Harry Potter movie on TV at someone's house and the story will be spoiled for her. Sure, the movies are fine, I've watched them.....but they are just movies. I think for the magic of the story to hit your heart, you have to not know about it before you read. It ruins it if you already know this ordinary boy turns into The Harry Potter. I want this for Ramona. I imagine us cuddled in a chair and me opening the book and reliving the magic with her. Oh friends, let me have my fantasy.
Now, this brings us to 39 Clues. It's nothing compared to Harry. But the premise reminds me of what I like about the story of Harry Potter. Ordinary kids finding the secret to who they really are and then living a totally new life. This is a theme I very much enjoy. I think most people like to imagine that their real selves have yet to be reviled.
Also, 39 Clues has fun gimmicks. Each book is written by a different author that specializes in action, adventure, and mystery. There is also an online gaming and trading card element that I'm not interested in, but I can see how it would appeal to kids with money to spend and lots of Internet time. However, the books are able to stand on their own.
I'm not going to go too much into the plot, and it's pretty much all plot. Two tweens, Dan and Amy Cahill, set out to win a dangerous and mysterious contest/deadly scavenger hunt posed by their deceased grandmother.
I am ambivalent about this series. It's fun, I like the books, but it's like a Dean Koontz primer. In my adult life as a book snob, I would have nothing to do with Dean Koontz or anything Koontz-like. Then why am I ok with this for kids???
My mom used to get onto me for spending all my money and reading time on Babysitter's Club books because she didn't think they were worth reading. I loved these books so much and read them like crazy. I learned to be entertained by books and I learned to be a fluent reader with that crappy series. I outgrew them and went on to much more substantial books. This is all part of becoming a reader. Some of my 39 Clues readers will never move on, and some of them will. If I can at least get them to read something, then we have something to work with.