Bubba and Squirt’s City of Bones is part of a series and is an amusing mystery novel for children. Bubba and his sister Squirt have a magical hole in their backyard that acts as a portal to other places in the world. Their father is missing, and Bubba has a dream about his Great Great Great Grandpa Jacob telling him the answer is in the art in Paris. Bubba and Squirt use the portal to travel to Paris and end up in the catacombs. They meet Jacques, a boy the same age as Bubba, and his cousin Simone. They help Bubba and Squirt navigate the city and visit museums to try to find the scene of Bubba’s dream. While touring museums, they witness a theft of a sculpture, another of a string of thefts happening at all the museums. Will the group find the missing art? Will they find Bubba and Squirt’s father?
I really enjoyed this story. It is a mystery, as stated in the summary, and it keeps the reader guessing while dropping enough hints along the way for the reader to conjecture what will happen next. Even though I have not read the previous books, the author does a nice job of filling the reader in on what has happened previously, so the reader does not feel lost.
The characters are great. Bubba and Squirt have their own distinct personalities and are well defined. The children are easily excited, speaking in enthusiastic phrases. The author does a great job of conveying that when the children have dialogue in the story, it is realistic. Bubba is quite funny, cracking jokes and giving humorous levity to their tricky situation. He is also uplifting and very caring toward his sister. Squirt is very smart and courageous while being afraid. Frequently, she is uneasy in continuing on certain paths, but she does it for her father. Jacques and Simone are great supporting characters as well, and keeping in mind the intended audience of this book, the depth of the characters is perfect.
The setting is also very well done. The descriptions of Paris itself and the Catacombs, Metro, museums, and Eiffel Tower are wonderful, making it easy for the reader to feel as if they are there. Simone and Jacques speak French in small doses throughout as well, giving the air of authenticity. I especially loved the description of the catacombs, creepy but not too scary; after all, they were surrounded by millions of bones.
The back of the book includes a glossary of French words, as well as a short nonfiction history lesson on the Catacombs and Art Thefts. I appreciate that the author included these wonderful additions to help the reader with the story and as an additional tool for learning.
This is a page-turner and highly enjoyable.