Monday, November 17, 2008

A Special Guest Review: "The Missing Link: FOUND"

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the ability to utilize skills in context. So often, in classrooms, things are contrived. I offer up exhibit A: play money. Personally, I've never owned any of those faux "math manipulatives." I taught my kids how to count using (gasp!) real money. If we were in a pinch (because I frankly don't have any $100 bills just warming the kitchen counter), I nabbed a few pieces of Monopoly money and kept going. After the child seemed to have a decent enough grasp on things, I let them experience the joy of making their own purchases. Thus far, I have yet to turn out a child that seems somehow lacking in financial prowess due to my stubborn refusal to buy a bin of plastic coins at Lakeshore.

This desire to give kids a real-life, hands-on experience is what led homeschooling
mom Felice Gerwitz to say "Go for it!" when her daughter Christina expressed an interest in writing a novel. I can only imagine Felice trying to put her finger on exactly what Language Arts skills were being perfected as her daughter undertook the daunting, self-assigned task of becoming an author. The end result is anything but a long-winded, plagiarized treatise on The Scarlet Letter. Together, Christina and Felice have published "The Truth Seekers Mystery Series"--a trio of youth mysteries with a Christian worldview.

Inspired by Felice, I chose to let my own budding authoress, Jo, wear the reviewer's hat here at Books and Bairns. I'm counting this as Language Arts for the day. And
reading. And probably life skills/job training. :-)

The Missing Link: Found review, by Jo (age 11)

The Missing Link: Found is a positive and encouraging Christian book for kids 11 an up. This book encourages kids to talk to God and walk with Him every day. It also introduces scientific theories in a fun mystery. Readers will be refreshed by the fact that the main characters face big and small problems, but they always turn to God. This is one of the best Christian mysteries I have ever read!

Plunged into a baffling real-life riddle, Anna and Christian Murphy find themselves in the middle of their uncle's archaeology dig. This is no ordinary dig: Mike Murphy believes he is excavating the supposed "missing link" that will prove that the theory of evolution is true. Anna and Christian are Christians who don't subscribe to the theory, but their cousin, David, is pretty sure that it's correct. After Uncle Mike is hospitalized, it's up to the Murphy teens and their father to finish the dig. "Arcadia Man"--as the fossil is called--holds more secrets than they suspected. Can the Murphys uncover "Arcadia Man," expose a gang of thieves and still trust God through it all?

This book is fun, fast-paced and exciting. It was a light read. If you like mysteries, you'll enjoy trying to unravel the puzzle before the author lays it all out for you. There are plenty of twists and turns here. I was kept guessing up until the very end.

One shortcoming of this book is found in the "Letter From the Editor" at the end of the story. Right before a whole list of resources that you can use to follow up on the science presented in the story, there's a note saying that most of the things written about are true and have evidence to support them ... except for the main ending zinger! I can't tell you what it was without giving it away but I was really disappointed. It made for a good story ending, but it would have been better if it was real.

I recommend this book!


Benny said...

Wow. What an excellent review, Jo. You are shaping up to be quite the writer, young lady. Thank you for sharing.


Mrs. Sprinkles said...

Great review--I'll have to check this out!

Lori said...

Great job Jo! I'll recommend this one to my nephew.

Kristenph said...

Excellent review!