Word travelers and the Taj Mahal mystery by Raj Haldar. Illus. by Neha Rawat

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Eddie and Molly-Jean (MJ) are next-door neighbours and best friends, who normally spend their weekends watching TV and playing together.  But on this Saturday they are challenged by Eddie’s mother to find out the origin of the word pajamas in his Great-grandpa Oscar’s special book, which they find in the attic.  Great Grandpa Oscar was a famous etymologist, and his Awesome Enchanted book magically takes them to India where they are challenged to solve a mystery for their new friend Dev. The Rajasthani prince needs their help to find an ancient treasure belonging to his family so that they can rebuild his local school which was destroyed in a typhoon. As they race to solve a range of word-related puzzle clues before a mystery competitor does, they unlock for the reader a range of words and where their origins lie.

The novel has a Glossary of word origins in the back and words throughout the book are printed in bold if they appear in this glossary.  The book is illustrated with helpful sketches of some of the characters and activities in the story as well as a map at the beginning of the book which lists some places in India that the children visit on their search. This book is the first in a series about these two characters as they discover the fascinating origins of words in the English language through some exciting adventures that take them to different parts of the world, solving some very puzzling mysteries and helping those in need at the same time. The next book in this series is called Word travellers and the missing Mexican Mole.

Themes: Fantasy, Etymology,Travel, Adventure, Mystery.

Gabrielle Anderson