Reviews for Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon
Booklist Reviews 2014 February #2
Taylor sets her story in an alternate future of clockwork mechanisms, scant natural resources, an oppressive government, and new lands miraculously undiscovered--which makes explorers and cartographers national heroes. Among the most famous is Kit's father, who went missing on his last mission and was mysteriously booted from the Expedition Society. Kit and his brother and sister--and talking parrot Amerigo Vespucci--struggle to get by. Then a strange man gives Kit a book with a secret code that leads them to half of a secret map their father made, and then to the hiding place of a fabled treasure more spellbinding than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, the Expedition Society is hot on their tails, hoping to use Kit's superior cartography skills--and ability to decipher his father's tricky puzzles and codes--to find the treasure first. The tension builds at a tantalizing pace as the kids uncover secrets and escape danger at every turn. Taylor's expansive world building and clever, thrilling plot are wonderful enough on their own, but they're equally matched by the rich, well-rounded characters, brought to life by Roy's expressive black-and-white illustrations. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2013 - Spring Issue: March 1, 2013
A trio of talented orphan sibs follows a map created by their late father, a famous explorer, without knowing where it will lead. Witty references to the future appear in technology, fashion, and speech, and a plucky eleven-year-old girl mechanic steals the spotlight. Smart, enjoyable storytelling in which adults are under suspicion until vetted. Ages nine to thirteen.
© 2013 ForeWord Reviews. All Rights Reserved.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #2
Can three orphaned siblings with half a map beat an oppressive government to a secret, gold-filled canyon? Set in a future where the hacking of computers and depletion of natural resources has caused a return to steam and clockwork engines, Taylor's novel crosses dystopian and steampunk genres in this fast-paced, plot-driven tale. An Explorer with a clockwork hand smuggles an old book to Kit, the book's narrator. With his two siblings, brave Zander and preteen inventor M.K., he forms the Expeditioners, breaking the code hidden in the book and finding half a map from their late father, Alexander West, an Explorer of the Realm. Off they go to find the other half of the map and follow it, facing giant green slugs, huge birds and evil government agents. The black-and-white cartoon-style illustrations and the portrayal of wrench-wielding, smart-mouthed, fearless M.K. lighten the tone of the lengthy text and its underlying message of mistreatment of natural resources and indigenous peoples. The premise that there are undiscovered places, that "[a] map of the world isn't a fixed thing. We know only what we can see," is an intriguing one. Full of kid power, clues, codes and maps, this will appeal to sophisticated readers who appreciate their adventure served with heaping helpings of cleverness. (Fantasy. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2013 August/September
This novel reads somewhat like a steampunk version of Indiana Jones meets The Goonies. Set in a world where computers have been hacked and natural resources have been depleted, the discovery of new lands has led to modern exploration and the rise of corrupt government agencies. Thirteen-year-old Kit West is followed by a strange man with a clockwork hand who gives him a package purportedly from his missing explorer father. Government agents question Kit about the man. It seems that his father intends Kit and his siblings to undertake a mission of their own. They unravel the mystery of Drowned Man's Canyon and search for the buried treasure. Along the way the children are pursued by nefarious government agents and an unsavory Explorer. What sets this adventure apart are the quirky steampunk elements as well as the clever b&w illustrations. This read is great fun, filled with likable characters, mysterious clues, and plenty of action. Cecelia Carmenates, Librarian, O.W. Holmes Middle S hool, Alexandria, Virginia. RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 November #1
In this series kickoff, Taylor (Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean) introduces a fascinating world where history took a different turn. The invention of computers in 1880--and their failure a century later--has led to the discovery of strange lands not on any map as well as the rise of steampunk technology in place of gasoline and electricity. Siblings Zander, Kit, and M.K.--14, 13, and 10, respectively--are forced to go on the run after they discover a map created by their deceased father, a renowned explorer, which points the way to a massive hidden treasure, one coveted by the corrupt Bureau of Newly Discovered Lands. As their journey takes them into the depths of a long-hidden region, they encounter all manner of dangers. The author's evident love of maps and exploration strengthens this Indiana Jones-style adventure, which is filled with nifty gadgets, moments of moderate terror, and high stakes. The retro-futuristic technology, never-before-seen sights, and danger provide plenty of fodder for Roy's playful illustrations, which have an adventurous, Jonny Quest flair. Ages 10-up. Agent: Esmond Harmsworth, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency. (Dec.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 January
Gr 4-7--With their father presumed dead, all of his maps and papers taken, and their food supply eliminated, Zander, Kit, and M. K. West have lost all trust in the government, particularly the repressive Bureau of Newly Discovered Lands (BNDL). Their father, a once-famous Explorer and mapmaker (planet Earth has more continents and land formations than previously thought), was suddenly labeled a traitor and the BNDL seems up to no good in its search of a mythical cache of gold. But now the siblings-the Expeditioners, so named by their father-discover that they are in possession of one map that the government missed. With agents on their tail and no money, the three youngsters and their steel-clawed talking parrot set off to follow the hidden trail of clues left by their father. With the help of a glider pilot, they reach the Grand Canyon and follow the map in an attempt to find Drowned Man's Canyon and the elusive gold mine. A wonderful example of steampunk done well, this thoroughly satisfying adventure contains enough danger and suspense to keep even reluctant readers turning the pages.--Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MA [Page 127]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
VOYA Reviews 2013 February
With their mother dead and their father presumed dead, Kit, Zander, and M.K. are on their own. With street smarts and just enough to get by, the siblings are making do in a post-apocalyptic future without electricity or computers. When a strange man who claims to have known their father corners Kit and gives him a mysterious book, corrupt government officials begin to threaten the siblings' solitude. A series of events lead the trio--and their new friend Sukey and their half-clockwork bird, Pucci--across the country to Drowned Man's Canyon, Arizona, and to a hidden community, Ha'aftep, that has never been recorded on a map. When they learn that Ha'aftep is also the fabled location of a massive stash of gold, the kids realize that they have been pawns in a very dangerous game and must use the skills the siblings' father--a mapmaker and respected explorer--taught them to save themselves and Ha'aftep The Wild West steampunk setting and adventure story make for a compelling middle grade novel, the first in a projected series. Furthermore, readers will see obvious parallels to Harry Potter: protagonist Kit is small, dark, and bespectacled; his younger sister, M.K., every bit as clever as Hermione; and the adults either evil or loyal to the siblings' parents' legacy. In fact, by the end, all three siblings are invited to attend prestigious The Academy for the Exploratory Sciences--not quite Hogwarts, but close enough.--Jennifer M. Miskec 3Q 3P M J Graphic Format Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.