Books

Review – Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo by Dennis and Wendel Kind

Secret Scouts and The Lost Leonardo
Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo
  • 9/10
    Writing - 9/10
  • 8.5/10
    Development - 8.5/10
  • 8.8/10
    Overall - 8.75/10
8.8/10

Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo

Writers: Dennis Kind, Wendel Kind
Publisher: Mokum Media
Genre: Middle Grade, Teens & YA
Page Count: 300
Release Date: March 1, 2013

Four kids team up to have the adventure of their lives. Here we see fact and fiction merge together to create a fascinating mystery. 

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Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo

 

Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo is a children’s book written by Dennis and Wendel Kind. Together these two authors managed to weave fact and fiction into a casual mystery series.

Tom, Lisa, Sophie, and Jack were just having a fun afternoon together, when a sketch given to them by their neighbour sets them off on a series of searches. Eventually, it leads them to the biggest discovery of their lives.

Writing

Secret Scouts and The Lost Leonardo
Secret Scouts and The Lost Leonardo by Dennis and Wendel Kind (Mokum Media)

It’s clear that Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo is intended to be for children. While it is witty and clever, its tone is kept lighter for obvious reasons. The facts that are included are not so in depth as to force a fourth grader’s eyes to glaze over. Even as an adult I found myself amused by the discoveries and antics the children got up to.

The book starts off with a series of art history facts that quickly become the basis for the mystery. I’m not sure if everybody would take the time to read these tidbits, but I did, and they really did help establish the setting. It also gave the sense that the whole book was grounded in fact, thus making it all more plausible.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book. From the discoveries to the trips and adventures the kids go on. One wouldn’t expect a book that’s basically an art history mystery to involve time travel, but sometimes little surprises like that can be a lot of fun.

The writing itself is exceptionally descriptive. The Dennis and Wendel Kind really take the time to paint the scene for you, no pun intended (okay, maybe a little bit of a pun intended). The sheer number of details brought into the mix makes it hard to tell at points whether they’re basing it on fact or fiction. This further enhances the believability of the novel.

Development

Tom, Lisa, Sophie, and Jack are exactly what we’d expect them to be; kids. Sure, they’re curious kids that do a fantastic job of getting themselves in absurd situations. But in the end, they’re still kids. They act just like it too. Sometimes they’ll try and act all mature. Other times their emotions get the best of them, from getting over excited or frustrated and everything in between. Sometimes that means that they’ll pick on each other or, as siblings are known to do, intentionally pick fights or play pranks. Considering their ages, and the intended ages of the readers, this all makes perfect sense.

Oddly enough it was some of the adults that seemed the least realistic. Mostly I’m speaking about one character in particular. There’s a friend of the family that I just couldn’t like. He was too perfectly designed to fit the curiosity and needs of the children and their investigations. While helpful, it resulted in him coming off as slightly creepy (though I did love that he owned a Bengal cat).

Overall

Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo is a really fun mystery that will be perfect for children. I love that they added an art history element to it – who knows, maybe it’ll help create a new generation of art historian? The addition of some science fiction elements was a surprise, but I think it helped keep the plot moving forward as needed.

As an art history major, I did find myself cringing at several points in the book. Although this is through no fault of the authors. It hurt my heart to read about children handling such a classic book with no gloves and just shoving it in their backpack like that. I know it isn’t real, and it’s meant for kids that wouldn’t know better…but oh my poor heart! Seriously though, while it did induce mild cringing it would never have been enough to make me stop reading (as evidenced by the fact that I finished it).

The descriptive nature of the book was absolutely wonderful, especially when combined with the more whimsical moments. While it may lose the attention of some of the more casual young readers out there, I think any avid reader would devour the pages of this book (I know I would have).

It’s clear that Dennis and Wendel Kind are hoping that this will become a series. I wish them the best in this endeavour. I don’t know if they’ll have the same children appear, as like Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys (though I hope that’s the case), or if they’ll create a new cast every time. Either way, I think they’ve got a lot of potential, and I dearly hope they stick to the art history theme.

I can’t recommend this book enough for the curious young readers in our lives. That may be my bias and love of art history showing through, but I think it’s worth the read. That they use facts to support their fiction was a genius move, and will hopefully instil curiosity in its readers.


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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