SOURCE: I picked up a ARC of this book when I was at BEA in May/10.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Mission: Believe it or not, sightings of a strange reptilian creature have been reported by witnesses in the Florida Everglades. Investigate the accuracy of these accounts and collect factual information for the Ripley database.
Location: Florida, USA
The Florida swamplands are home to hungry gators, wild electrical storms, and a most unusual creature. Sightings of a strange lizard-like animal reach Ripley High and the RBI are sent to investigate. During their search, the RBI agents find themselves in the middle of a high-speed air boat chase, a swarm of rats, a mysterious treasure hunt, and DUL agents in disguise. But then, that’s nothing unusual when you’re a member of the RBI!
This is the first book in a ten book series. I think this would be a great series of books for the middle graders.
The main characters Kobe, Zia, Max, Kate, Alek, Li, and Jack all attend Ripley High which is a school for kids with special abilities as we discovery slowly in the books. In this first book A Scary Tale we see that three of the characters (Zia, Kobe and Jack) have special abilities which are talking to animals, and dealing with the weather. I think that the kids with the most powerful abilities are granted permission to take part in missions because at the beginning of the book Max is talking about wishing he was on another mission and Zia tells him to be quiet so no one will hear him.
In each of the books the kids will travel all over the world to investigate strange sightings.
In A Scary Tale, Zia, Kobe and Jack all travel to Florida to go to the Everglades to investigate a sighting of a lizard like creature. While there they encounter some problems with another school called the DUL (Department of Unbelievable Lies). They are out to show and prove that all the strange sightings are all lies.
Before the kids leave for their mission they research their location and get as much info as they can. One teacher will provide the geography and another will be their electronic expert providing them with night vision goggles and thermal imager. Once there they will ride an air boat. Its the only way into the Everglades.
Upon interviewing some witnesses they team realizes something isn’t right and quickly realize that DUL is behind it. Will they be able to find this lizard like creature before DUL can prove that there is nothing there?
I managed to read this book rather quickly because at the end of every chapter there was a little cliff hanger and for me it left me wanting to read more to find out what was going to happen next.
Another thing I loved about the book was through out the book there was a drawing of the R-phone and it gave strange facts along the way such as:
The Florida Everglades are home to over 1 million alligators! The longest recorded length for an alligator in that area is 17 feet 6 inches that as long as a giraffe is tall. It is estimated that there are also 500 rare American crocodiles living in the Everglades.
Lightening strikes Florida more than any other state in the US about 12 strikes per square kilometer per year. Of all the US recorded hurricanes 36% hit Florida.
At the end of the book there is a section called Enter the Strange World of Ripley’s and there is information about the Everglades and the real people behind the story. There is also some collector cards included. Which Michael loved.
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