Arkie Sparkle Treasure Hunter: Code Crimson by Petra James

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Pan Macmillan Australia, 2012. ISBN 978-1-7426-1110-5.
(Age: 8-11) Recommended. Arkie Sparkle is an 11 year old who with her cousin TJ and basset hound, Cleo must try to find her kidnapped archaeologist parents. She embarks on a treasure hunt across seven continents, this book being on continent number 1, Egypt, with 6 other books and quests to follow.
Armed with an exciting fast form of transport and special gadgets that include a handy time travel machine, Arkie must solve a puzzling riddle to be able to move onto the next mission. She needs to discover the whereabouts of a treasure from the time of the Egyptian Pharaoh, Ramses II.
The kidnapped parents storyline at the beginning of the book seemed repetitive of other child hero / missing parents plots but after further reading the novel became more interesting as there were fascinating references to real historical figures and times, which are explained in more detail at the end of the book.
This book is aimed at 8 to 11 year olds and has enough text to be an exciting but not overwhelmingly long story. Drawings, hieroglyphics and extra text such as the NATO phonetic alphabet just add to the appeal. The fact that the novel is strongly marketed as being part of a series, combined with an unanswered mystery at the end of the story, will encourage students to continue reading the next seven books.
Jane Moore