Treasure hunters take note, Secrets Of Shakespeare’s Grave by Deron R. Hicks is an utterly charming debut middle grade read that will appeal to your questing sensibilities. The Letterford family owns and operates the prestigious publisher Letterford And Sons. When the family patriarch dies, Mull Letterford takes over the business. A series of disasters occurs and so the family must question whether to take the ownership from Mull or not. Colophon, Mull’s 12 year old daughter, is positive foul play is behind the accidents. Hearing about a rumored family treasure, Colophon decides finding the treasure is the best way to save her dad and keep the business in his hands, thus launches the treasure hunt.
Secrets Of Shakespeare’s Grave is quite clever in that it subtly slips history in. The hunt for treasure is what has the reader’s main attention and little by little as Colophon unravels the mystery, we get little history snippets. The history mostly follows Shakespeare, but it is quite fascinating. I could see this book being used to generate more interest in Shakespeare during a classroom’s free reading time.
My one criticism of Secrets Of Shakespeare’s Grave is that the characters felt a little bit flat. Colophon is academic, loves reading and is clever beyond her years. We don’t really get much deeper than that. She doesn’t seem to have any real faults. The villain is the stock bad guy who is pretty much evil throughout the whole book, with not much more under the surface. However, I do not think the intended audience will mind the characters, as Colophon and her family are quite likeable.
What really enhances Secrets Of Shakespeare’s Grave by Deron R. Hicks are the illustrations by Mark Edward Geyer. Geyer’s illustrations are pen and ink drawings which appear at the beginning of each chapter. The pictures are relevant to each chapter and add an extra dimension to the book. Plus they are quite pleasing to look at.
If you’ve got a reluctant middle grade reader in your family or classroom, I highly recommend you hand them a copy of Secrets Of Shakespeare’s Grave. It is a quick and engaging book where they will learn something in the process of reading it.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.
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