Thursday, January 6, 2011

Case Closed? by Susan Hughes (Illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier)

A few years ago I fell in love with this short television series that took stories from the Bible and attempted to either prove or disprove that they actually happened.  Most of you have either heard of or seen those shows where they take cold case police files and use today's technology to try to solve crimes.  One of my friends is a huge Billy the Kid fan and talks incessantly of the need to use DNA testing to find out for sure who the real Billy was and where he's buried.

This book takes nine different well-known mysteries and uses today's technology to try to solve them.  I loved it!!!  I'm sure you all noticed that I mentioned the illustrator in the title and I don't normally do that.  In this case it was a must.  The illustrations are smart, sharp and add so much to the book.  Each mystery gives you a fact sheet containing all the pertinent information originally tacked to the mystery.  It also talks about the person(s) trying to solve the mystery and how they plan to go about it.  It goes in depth (but not to the point of being boring) into the scientific methods being used that we have available today that weren't available at the time the mystery came into being.  It then tells us the findings as well as other interesting tidbits that are tied into the mystery being focused on.

For me there were three that were really interesting.  The first was finding out what actually happened to Princess Anastasia Romanov.  I'm sure there are plenty of you out there that already know the findings since the mystery was solved a few years ago.  I was not among you, but now I am!  Now I know what happened to her!  Another was finding out what happened to the Anasazi tribe!  Thank you elementary school education for teaching me about them and thank you brain for remembering who they were all these years!  The pictures that go along with this mystery are absolutely astounding and have me planning my next vacation to go to Colorado and see everything up close and personal.  The third most interesting for me was a story about a Chinese man I'd never heard of.  The interesting part of this mystery wasn't the mystery itself, but how they went about solving it.   I'm not telling!  You have to pick up the book!

When I first picked this up, I thought it was geared towards children, and I suppose in some ways it is but not exclusively.  I can't imagine anyone not being thrilled with this book.  I know several people who don't read, which I just don't comprehend.  It's not that they aren't able to, they choose not to because they don't enjoy it.  I put this book in front of one of them and said 'Hey!  Check this out!'  and the response I was greeted with was 'Cool!'  I can't honestly state that they read every word of the book, but they were fascinated by the pictures and did read at least snippets of it.  It's fascinating, factual, and colorful. 

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