Book Review: "One False Note" by Gordon Korman

Mozart is the focus of "One False Note"
by Gordon Korman.
"One False Note" by Gordon Korman is the second installation in The 39 Clues book series. The 39 Clues follow Dan and Amy Cahill on their adventure to find 39 clues left by their ancestors that lead to power and riches beyond their imagining - or so they've been told. The problem is they are not just trying to find clues. They are competing with their backstabbing extended family to reach the clues. Obviously, being the series' protagonists, Dan and Amy Cahill are the favorites. As of the second novel - "One False Note" - they are the only surviving Cahills who appear to have any redeeming qualities.

In "One False Note" by Gordon Korman, the Cahills discover that the next ancestor to leave them a clue was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Actually, his sister seems to have helped as well. This is one of the great aspects of "One False Note." In their search for the second of the 39 clues, Amy and Dan Cahill stumble across an oft forgotten, but important historical figure. Maria Anna Mozart was Wolfgang's older sister and reportedly a magnificent musician in her own right. Unfortunately, she would never be able to reach the success of her brother because of her gender. Gordon Korman is kind enough to remind readers about her.

The 39 Clues novels are written for children ages 8-12. Gordon Korman obviously knows how to appeal to this age group, while slipping in some great history and geography lessons, which seems to be the purpose of these novels. There is enough danger, excitement, intrigue and petty childishness in "One False Note" to keep any 8-12 year old interested. On top of that, even some adults could learn a thing or two about Mozart and his talented sister.

"One False Note" by Gordon Korman is, overall, a fast-paced, simple book. The plot is exceedingly easy to follow and the characters are predictable to the point of redundancy. Advanced readers in the age group may find it a bit too easy. It is sure to be interesting to them, but they will read it quickly and be on to the next one. If you are in the habit of reading your children's book selection before they do, you will be happy to know that "One False Note" goes by quickly and is not too horribly juvenile like other books in the genre. It is much easier on a parent's sense of learning than Captain Underpants, that is for certain.

Shelly Barclay

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