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Kidnap on the California Comet

Kidnap on the California Comet

MG Leonard & Sam Sedgman
Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 9781529013085

Hal's off again with Uncle Nat, this time aboard the California Comet for a trip across America from Chicago to San Francisco. Uncle Nat has been asked to report on a special announcement being made by August Reza, millionaire and train enthusiast, whilst Hal is looking forward to enjoying the trains, the scenery and some sketching. Everything changes, however, when Hal finds himself in the middle of a kidnapping involving Reza's daughter, Marianne.

Once again, M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman whisk us away on a proper adventure! Clues and red herrings abound as Hal and his new train mates, Mason and Hadley, work together to solve the kidnapping and free Marianne. 'Sherlock Davinci' (as they dub Hal) uses his sketchbook and his amazing powers of observation to track down the culprits and solve the case. Elisa Paganelli's illustrations throughout add much to the story.

The book is full of information about trains - this one being based on the California Zephyr - which is seamlessly woven into the story, making it enjoyable for the ferroequinologist and lay person alike. Additional information is offered at the end of the story, explaining more about some elements of the story and pointing the way to finding out more.

There is much to recommend this book for using with a class as the story raises questions about advances in technology and conservation, amongst other things (I can't give too much away!) Following Hal's journey could be an engaging way of tackling some of the KS2 geography!

Great fun, Kidnap on the California Comet is as engaging as The Highland Falcon Thief. I'm already looking forward to Hal's next trip - Murder on the Safari Star.

258 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher


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