Pursued by an outlaw band of sewer-dwelling “ninjas,” 11-year-old Samantha Spinner searches around the world for her missing uncle.
When Uncle Paul vanished from their Seattle home, he left outlandish presents: $2.4 billion for Samantha’s shopaholic older sister; the New York Yankees and their stadium for her imprudent younger brother; a jeweled collar for the dog; and, for Samantha, an old umbrella. Far from being a second-rate present, the umbrella conceals a map to a network of secret passages to places all over the world. A treasure, for sure, but will it lead Samantha to her lost uncle? Complicating things, the aforementioned outlaws from the sewer want their map back. Will they succeed? This series opener offers a winning mix of fast-paced action, fascinating facts, bathroom humor, and hidden puzzles. The characters have distinct personality traits but no physical descriptions, pointing to a white default. Samantha, her brother, Nipper, and their pug, Dennis, journey to Paris, France; Florence, Italy; and Edfu, Egypt—Samantha searching for her uncle, Nipper looking for treasure, and Dennis seeking snacks. Journal entries describing famous places such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Temple of Horus as well as their secret entryways interrupt the action. Further entries on Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China suggest adventures to come. Puzzle clues are sprinkled throughout; explanations and answers are in the back.
Wild exaggeration sure to please action-loving middle-grade readers. (Adventure. 9-12)