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by Anna Levine & illustrated by Ksenia Topaz

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7613-5642-4
Publisher: Kar-Ben

A Passover family picnic is preceded by a quick exploration of and discovery beneath the ground in the Old City of Jerusalem.

During the week of Passover, archeology enthusiast Jodie is eager to escort her visiting cousin Zach on a tour of the ancient Hezekiah’s Tunnel, which is famous for its strategic water passages. Zach is initially reluctant, and he imagines terrors as he enters the deep, dark and wet tunnel. "Evidence" of dragons, monsters and dinosaurs is logically explained away by Jodie as mold, shadows and chisel marks left on the walls by the tunnel creators. With the help of a flashlight, the cousins solve the "riddle of the middle" pointed out by Jodie’s father at the beginning of their tour. Opaque double-page illustrations move the story from outside the tunnel, where no clear entrance is indicated, through to a wall of markings, supposedly drawn from opposite directions, that show the original tunnel workings dug from two different points and meeting in the middle. Unlike predecessor Jodie’s Hanukkah Dig (2008), which wove together themes of bravery and resilience, this story has nothing at all to do with the titular holiday.

Ultimately, this attempt to show how archeology can provide answers to ancient history’s mysteries disappoints. (Picture book. 5-8)