April 17, 2017

Hannah and the Magic Eye

Written byTyler Enfield
Great Plains Teen Fiction
165 pp.
Ages 8-12
April 2017
…taking her on a tour through the last three-thousand years of Israel’s major religions–from Judaism, to Islam, and lastly to Christianity–all of them locked together by a shared history in this solitary, enchanted city and a magical ring once worn by its wisest king.” (pg. 135)
Think The Da Vinci Code for middle-graders and you have Edmonton author Tyler Enfield’s Hannah and the Magic Eye.  Entombed in archaeology, a secret society and secret codes, it's a thriller which takes place in Jerusalem, one of the oldest and historically richest cities of the world.

Twelve-year-old Hannah travels from her home in Brussels, Belgium to visit her famed archaeologist grandfather, Henri Dubuisson, in Jerusalem.  When she arrives and Henri is not there to meet her, she only has a cryptic note he’d sent her to guide her.  She discovers a secret online message from her Grandpa Henri about a treasure beyond her wildest dreams and a secret society called the Cancellarii in search of the same treasure. Convinced Henri has been kidnapped and attempting to avoid several nefarious characters who attempt to follow her and grab her, Hannah, with the help of a Palestinian boy who likens himself to George Clooney, uncovers an ancient journal by ancestor Julien Dubuisson.  Hannah and Clooney must decipher the seven illustrations within, using a camera and a lot of ingenuity about historic sites in Jerusalem and environs, if they are to decipher the mysterious treasure map and discover a treasure that once belonged to King Solomon and save her grandfather.

No stops for deep breaths on this adventure.  Tyler Enfield has plotted a story so intricate and action-packed that young readers won’t have time to take breaks to learn about the historic details woven into the story (though they will surely be googling King Solomon, the different quarters of Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock after finishing the book).  Clever Hannah is like a young Indiana Jones with her loyal sidekick Clooney who gets her both into and out of trouble.  With Hannah’s code-breaking skills and historic knowledge along with Clooney’s familiarity with their exotic location, Hannah and the Magic Eye is a thrilling course of intrigue that captivates and captures, inviting young readers to travel with Hannah and Clooney on their adventure, even on camel back. And judging by the conclusion of Hannah and the Magic Eye, they have a subsequent treasure hunt in Cambodia with Hannah and Clooney assisting Henri, all courtesy of Tyler Enfield's elaborate plotting and savvy for telling an exciting middle-grade story.

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