A Boy Called Duct Tape is a fast-paced, exciting adventure story for middle-grade readers about three kids in search of the long lost Jesse James treasure.
The story starts with 12-year old Pablo and his 9-year old sister diving for stones at Harper's Hole, in James Creek, at the base of Bear Mountain in Jamesville. A little while back, Pablo had discovered an underground spring feeding the hole. That's why the deep hole is always so cold. Harper's Hole has a special place in their hearts because it was first introduced to them by their father, now dead for 3 years.
This time, however, the kids find a $20 gold coin at the bottom of the hole. The coin has tiny stars around it and is dated 1879. Needless to say, the siblings get super excited by their discovery. As soon as Pablo gets home, he does an internet search and finds out that the coin could be worth $6,250!
A few days later their 13-year old cousin Kiki comes to visit for 2 weeks, just in time for the Outlaw Days Festival held in Jamesville. The festival happens to celebrate one of the town's most famous guests, Jesse James. At the festival, the trio purchase a 'fake' map leading to Jesse James' infamous treasure.
But what if the map happens to be real? And what if they're not the only ones after the treasure?
I really enjoyed reading this story! Suspense, mystery and adventure will keep readers turning pages. The whole concept about Jesse James' treasure and the coins is intriguing. The language is appropriate for this age group and the author uses lots of dialogue and action sequences to propel the story forward. The plot is well constructed and the voice of the protagonists genuine for their ages. There's just the right amount of danger and humor. Readers will especially enjoy the villains and the chase scenes in the caves.
Because of its historical and educational value (there's a lot in it about numismatology, the study of coins), A Boy Called Duct Tape would make an interesting classroom read. Recommended.