Title: Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego?Where-in-Europe-is-Carmen-Sandiego2
Author: John Peel
Pages: 96
Reading Level: 8-11
Star Rating: ★★

Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego? is a solve–it-yourself detective book. But how exactly does that work?

Carmen Sandiego and her gang have managed to steal four valuable objects from different places in Europe; it’s up to you to track down the thief and recover the loot. You are provided with suspect cards (which include physical descriptions and other useful information about each gang member) and set off to track down your criminal. This excerpt is an example of how this works.

You’re in Paris, the famous city of sights and delights, tiny sidewalk cafes, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre, Museum – so much to see and do. But, sadly, you’re here to work, not to sightsee. The local lady from Interpol arrives and greets you.

“We’ve discovered three people who saw the thief you’re after, and three places where she may have gone.” She hands you a slip of paper.

If you want to stay in Paris and look into:

The lunch room of Notre Dame – go to 44 
The Eiffel Tower flower girl – go to 73

Madeline the orphan – go to 106

If you’re ready to depart for:

Berlin, Germany – go to 150
Warsaw, Poland – go to 16

Edinburgh, Scotland – go to 97

(The numbers tell you which page to flip to.)

After ‘interviewing’ the witnesses, you use the clues to identify the thief and to choose which location to travel to next. At the next location you are provided with more clues and more locations until finally you track down the thief.

I would have found Where In Europe more interesting if the suspect cards hadn’t been removed. Because they were missing, I was unable to link clues to suspects and thus could only guess at who the criminals really were. I was also a little unsure about how the point system worked.

Other than being entirely simplistic and unrealistic, there was nothing really wrong with Where In Europe Is Carmen Sandiego? Obviously it’s not really a reading book with a coherent story – you jump around from page to page – and its only real value is the small amount of critical thinking that it involves.

Conclusion. Overall, Where In Europe Is Carmen Sandiego is an okay book. I didn’t see much of a point to it, but it’s not defiling.

Note: This is a review of Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego?, not the entire Carmen Sandiego Series.

Review © 2012 Laura Verret

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