Winston is a regular student who can't resist a good puzzle. When he buys a decorative box for his sister's birthday and discovers a set of clues inside, he becomes part of a treasure hunt involving a con man, a kidnapper, the town librarian, two big police officers, and his two best friends. If Winston solves the puzzle, will it really lead to a hidden treasure from long ago? Will his involvement put his family at risk?
This is a fun book with fast-paced action that will appeal to many readers. In addition to the puzzles posed by the treasure hunt, extra puzzles are worked into the story, with answer keys at the back. Readers can pause and try to find solutions without the answers being fed to them immediately. There is not a lot of character depth, but the author gives us several adults with questionable ethics, while the kids are working to do the right thing. I prefer the sequel, The Potato Chip Puzzles, because it includes a greater variety of puzzle types, and the characters deal with ethics issues that are deeper and more interesting.
The lawyer informed us that my father had hidden the ring. The wooden pieces were a puzzle, and we would have to work together to find the ring."
The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.
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