July 6, 2012

Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked By Modern Science

CASE CLOSED? NINE MYSTERIES UNLOCKED BY MODERN SCIENCE by Susan Hughes; Illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier
GENRE: History - Nonfiction

REVIEW: Case Closed? is an attractive, easily readable book that successfully combines history and science to good effect. Arranged chronologically, the "mysteries" primarily involve disappearances - the mummy of Hatshepsut, ancient Egypt's controversial female pharaoh, the Anasazi pueblo peoples and Sir John Franklin's doomed expedition among others. The subjects range from the very familiar, (the disappearance of Anastasia Romanov), to the obscure, (the journey of the ancient explorer, Hsu Fu). All are engaging, though some more than others, and all synthesize the findings of experts in various fields, (medicine, archaeology, meteorology, etc), making this an engrossing, thorough and highly informative read.

OPINION: Wandelmaier's illustrations are attractive and accessible, making what might otherwise be a hard sell easy to pick up. In fact, everything about this book, from the text to the layout is designed to make the subject matter appealing to young people. That said, depth was not sacrificed for gloss - this book contains solid content that draws the reader in naturally. A great book and an excellent introduction to a number of subjects, Case Closed? should have in every library's juvenile nonfiction.

IDEAS: Great for a display on unsolved, historical mysteries, archaeology, science expeditions (both doomed and successful). Also a useful classroom reference.

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