My Rating ~ Three and a half stars
Release date: 23 October 2018
Publisher: Mokum Media
Source: Received as an E-ARC for review from the author
Secret Scouts is a new fact-fiction children’s book series about historical fact, friendship, mystery and adventure!
When best friends Tom, Lisa, Sophie and Jack stumble upon a mysterious sketch that has all the hallmarks of an Old Master, they decide to investigate. Soon they discover an original 15th century codex full of Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches, writings and calculations.
From a family of modest means, Jack and Tom see the codex as a fast track to wealth and fame. Sophie and her sister Lisa, however, have other plans. They decode the codex and discover an incredible secret: Leonardo da Vinci’s invention of time travel.
Their discovery tests their friendship and presents them with an impossible choice: reveal their secret to the world – and become millionaires – or put da Vinci’s extraordinary ideas to the test, risking their lives for a walk on the wild side.
Their journey brings them closer to the great Leonardo da Vinci than anyone ever before. But their quest comes with risks – including death, or worse, being lost in time.
Many thanks to to the author for providing me with an E-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
When sisters Sophie and Lisa, together with their friends Tom and Jack, find a secret hidden room behind a bookshelf in their father’s study, the come across an old codex they think may have belonged to Leonardo Da Vinci. Within the codex are drawings and inventions for things way beyond the codex’s time – including a description of how to time travel. The picture of the time travel device matches a strange device they have found in the hidden room. The four friends embark on an adventure to speak to Leonardo himself and find out more about the mysteries surrounding him.
A modern day fiction book, interspersed with facts about Leonardo Da Vinci’s life, and the questions that still surround some of his art and inventions, I think this story will be really fun for it’s intended audience. When I was younger, I loved the Famous Five and Secret Seven books (if you’re as old as me you’ll know the ones I’m talking about, ha!) and this book had a similar feel to those. The sheer number of ‘coincidences’ and the predictable ‘these ordinary kids changed the whole world’ type trope made it a little difficult for me as an adult reader to really appreciate the book. However, I tried to keep in mind it is definitely directed at middle grade readers and this sort of adventure story would probably thrill them. I did really enjoy the information about Leonardo Da Vinci and the finished book will include captioned photos showing his work where relevant in the book! I think this would be the type of book to spark discussion about such historical facts between children reading this book and their parents or teachers, which is always a good thing!
Overall, a good start to an adventure series, with time travel as a central theme, for middle grade readers.