KidsPost Summer Book Club: ‘The Mystery of the Moon Tower’

August 4 at 6:19 PM

Heng Zeng for The Washington Post

The Mystery of the Moon Tower

By Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian

Ages 8 to 12

Camp Pathfinder isn’t your typical summer camp, with days spent canoeing, craft-making and eating s’mores by the bonfire. Dreamed up by old-time treasure hunter and world traveler Henry Merriweather, it has been a training ground for generations of explorers.

It’s also in the strange town of Windrose, where the weather changes in an instant and a smelly gas occasionally shoots out of the ground. (The kids’ grossed-out reaction to the gas is a running joke in this graphic novel.)

(Viking Books)

Like many camps, however, it’s a place where kids from different backgrounds are randomly put together.

That’s true when newcomer Kyle shows up and is assigned to a group with longtime campers Beth, Harry, Vic and Nate. There’s little time to chat before these young Pathfinders are given an assignment: Find the long-lost treasure of Windrose.

They receive only two tools: a compass and a journal. But the kids quickly realize each of the five has a talent that could help with the task. Beth loves history and maps. Harry is a magician with a keen eye. Vic is a math whiz. Kyle is an artist. And Nate is an inventor whose motto is “always be ready.”

The treasure hunt, which had at first seemed to be just a game, gets more serious as they explore Merriweather’s castle, where they learn that the explorer’s fortune wasn’t as great as people thought. They wonder if the camp might have money trouble.

Merriweather was looking for the Windrose treasure but was unable to find it before he mysteriously disappeared. Others tried and failed. No one expects a group of kids to succeed.

The Pathfinders’ only chance is if they work as a team, not an easy thing when they aren’t all friends. Readers will want to know what happens with the treasure, but it’s equally entertaining to see whether this oddball group can stick together.

Next time in book club

What We Found in the Corn Maze and How It Saved a Dragon

By Henry Clark

Ages 8 to 12

Cal could use a magic spell to save his family’s farm. People aren’t buying the produce, and corn maze ticket sales aren’t enough to pay the bills. It appears that they will have to move. When Cal’s friend Modesty finds a binder of spells, they have a moment of hope. The spells seem useless, however, and they work only occasionally. The kids and a third friend meet the binder’s owner, who needs their help to save something bigger — a dragon and magic itself.

For a graphic novel mystery with lots
of laughs, check out Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett Krosoczka (ages 7 to 10). In this episode of the 10-book series, Lunch Lady and the Breakfast Bunch kids investigate a rumored swamp monster.

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews (ages 10 to 14) follows friends who are determined to find out what happens to paper lanterns released at an annual festival.