Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour

Michael D. Beil
For ages 9 to 12
Random House, 2010   ISBN: 978-0375843037

Sophie St. Pierre is sitting in Mr. Eliot’s class listening to Leigh Ann Jamies read from Great Expectations when she sees something that makes her scream. Loudly. She tells her friends, Margaret and Rebecca, that she saw a face looking out of the small window St. Veronica’s church, which is next door to Sophie’s school. Determined that she was not hallucinating or dreaming, Sophie insists on going next door to St. Veronica’s church to take a look.

To the amazement of all, the girls actually find the old lady with the white hair whose face Sophie had seen in the little round window. Her name is Mrs. Harriman, and she invites the girls to come to tea at her house (which is next door to the church) after school. She tells the girls that she has something “very important to ask you.”

Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, Sophie, Margaret and Rebecca go to tea at Mrs. Harriman’s house. Mrs. Harriman explains that twenty years ago her father, a famous archeologist, left a birthday card for Caroline, Mrs. Harriman’s daughter, inside a copy of The Complete Poems of Tennyson. In the card he challenges Caroline to solve an “elaborate puzzle” that will lead her to her birthday gift, which is something that is of “rare and precious beauty.” Unfortunately, Caroline never got the card for her fourteenth birthday because her grandfather died before he could give it to her.

Mrs. Harriman is not close to her daughter and regrets this state of affairs very much indeed. She asks Sophie and her friends to solve the puzzle created by her father. Perhaps the gift, whatever it is, will help Mrs. Harriman to reconnect with her daughter.

Unable to resist a real puzzle that will lead to some kind of real treasure, the girls gets busy. They never imagine that their journey will require them to do all kinds of things. They will have to visit a museum, solve math problems, decode messages, and so much more.

Written from Sophie’s point of view using a chatty and delightfully engaging voice, this title will keep readers guessing right until the last pages in the book. Readers will be interested by the puzzles that the girls encounter and solve, and the problems that they face will be familiar.

This is the first book in what promises to be a popular series.