Murray, “Sophie and Scottie’s Adventures of the Monarch Mystery” (reviewed by Trudy Thompson)

Review
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Title: Sophie and Scottie’s Adventures of the Monarch Mystery
Author: Cindy C. Murray
Publisher: Madmac Press P.O. Box 1262 Poway, CA 92074
Genre: Youth Fiction/Fantasy
Year Published: 2014
Number of Pages: 153
Binding: Paperback
ISBN10: 1517127904
ISBN13: 978-1517127909
Price: $9.99 ( On Amazon)

Reviewed by Trudy Thompson for the Association For Mormon Letters

Because I have four grandchildren, ages eleven, ten, seven, and two, I am constantly on the lookout for well written and creative books to share with them. The two oldest are avid readers for the most part. They both have their own areas of interest, so finding challenging and unique new volumes can take some time. I am very excited to share this delightful book by Ms. Murray with them.

The story begins with twin sisters Sophie and Scottie, enjoying their parents’ 10,000 acre sheep ranch at the start of summer vacation from school. They are excited to come in from doing their chores to discover that their eccentric and globe trotting Aunt Jill has once again sent them a “mystery” package in the mail. The note inside the box from their aunt states that she believes they are now mature and responsible enough to receive this special gift, a gift that will show them many places, where they will meet special people. Aunt Jill ends the note with the admonition to “enjoy your gift and use it wisely.” With this, the intrigue begins!

The girls discover that the package contains a single picture frame-albeit a pretty 8 x 10 inch frame that looks like it is made out of many mirrored jewels or crystals. Soon they notice how the frame appears to change color and size when they get near it, and then change again as they move back. Later in the evening, they notice the picture in the frame-a picture that looks much like their ranch house, except for the road in front of it and the tropical plants and forest around it.

They determine that the picture must be of a hotel, most likely in Mexico or South America where their Aunt might have been traveling. Then, the twins discover a handwritten note from Aunt Jill on the back. The note states that they are not to remove the photograph until she sends them a new one, and that they soon will understand why.

In time, the girls learn that the frame is magical, and they are led through the frame to the site in the picture. The frame is a portal by which they are transported thousands of miles away to Mexico, to solve a mystery-the mystery of the missing monarch butterflies.

They encounter both people and animals, and learn the importance of working as a team to help solve the mystery, and to develop problem-solving skills along the way. Not only are they provided with a map that suddenly shows miniature footprints that glow when they are on the right path, they also encounter several creative and unique characters who guide them through the jungles of Mexico, such as a toucan named Tomas, a cheetah named Jinx, and gecko-monkeys and a parrot.

They are introduced to Dr. Drake, who is their aunt’s new husband, and the man who is desperately trying to find out what, or who, is responsible for the missing monarch butterflies around the world, and what they can do to try and save them. They also meet Diego, the local boy who is familiar with the land and customs of the area. They encounter many perils, trials, and hardships along the way, but they learn to trust each other, and work together to keep striving toward their goal.

Although I would have preferred a bit faster pace at the start of the story, this truly is an enchanting
tale that blends the values of courage, integrity, responsibility, and working as a team, along with
the need to understand the delicate balance and beauty of nature and the environment, and its importance to all- animals, plants, and humans alike.

This is a delightful, entertaining and educational, (but don’t tell the children that last part!) page turner of a book. It will leave children ages seven through twelve wanting to know what happens next, and if, and how, the twins will escape danger, and the villain responsible for the missing monarchs.

Will they be able to solve the mystery of the missing monarchs and save the planet? Will they be given special gifts and powers to help and guide them? Will they be able to outsmart and escape the evil Professor Zooger? Your children will want to read to the end to find out!

This imaginative book is the first in a trilogy of Adventures with Sophie and Scottie. It has been awarded the Mom’s Choice Award Honoring Excellence, the 2017 Family Choice Award, and was also the Reader’s Favorite Book Award Winner.

Now, excuse me please while I start Book Two in the trilogy: Sophie and Scottie’s Adventures of Something’s Fishy!