Millie Thom's Reviews > Mission Rome

Mission Rome by Catherine Aragón
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it was amazing

This is the second book I’ve read in the Scavenger Hunt Adventure series and I can say that I continue to be very impressed. The quality of the text and illustrations is equally excellent, and the attractive, colourful presentation will draw children in and keep them enthralled. The cover is bright and cheerful, with wording and illustrations indicative of the general theme. As with Mission Paris, Mission Rome is aimed at children in the 8-11 years age range, but would equally suit older teenagers. Adults, too, could certainly use the book as a tour guide.

The main objective of the book is to give children something interesting and exciting to focus on whilst on holiday with their family. Two maps are located at the front, one showing the location of Italy globally, the other depicting Rome’s situation within Italy. The mission rules are also clearly listed here.

Tasks and investigations are presented in a lively and fun way, the successful completion of each resulting in the allocation of points - the ultimate goal being to reach a score of 100. Reaching this goal enables participants to become a Secret International Agency (SIA) special agent. Parents/trusted adults are asked to perform the role of case officers, and must accompany the children and supervise them during the tasks. The final decision regarding point awards is also at the discretion of case officer.

SIA special agents secretly collect intelligence from around the world. The books present agents as holding a privileged position – which should certainly appeal to children’s imagination and competitiveness. The book encourages children to give themselves a special code name (like 007) and stresses that ‘only a few have what it takes’ to join. How exciting is that?

There are fifteen missions to accomplish, all clearly listed on a Contents page, which allows agents and case officers to navigate easily through the book, along with a list of mission rules. The missions are varied and exciting, and include historical information about each location. Most of the major sites around Rome are visited, starting with the Forum. Others include Capitoline Hill, the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel. The missions aim to help develop many useful skills, including map, plan and photo analysis and interpretation, problem solving and interpretation of data – all done in a really fun way. The children are also encouraged to carefully record and store their intelligence or ‘intel’ – the word used for a spy’s discovered information.

The final mission is an ‘Anytime Mission’. Would-be agents are advised to read this one through carefully before starting on the rest. These tasks can be completed at various sites around the city – at any time - so children are urged to put their ‘situational awareness’ into practice – meaning they should always be ‘on alert’. Included are fun things such as sampling pizza, speaking a few words and phrases in Italian to hotel or restaurant staff and examining and describing an Italian Euro coin.

Answers to all the missions are at the end, so all case officers can check carefully before allowing the award of points! A final mission, to take an excellent photograph, is presented as a competition. Entries can be posted online to the given website – with a prize being offered the winner.

From the perspective of a former geography and history teacher, I have found this book to be an excellent resource for a city study. As a travel lover, I see it of enormous value to families on a city break to Rome. Other books in the series include missions to London, Paris, Barcelona and Washington, D.C. and more are to follow. I look forward to reading them.

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Reading Progress

March 18, 2015 – Started Reading
March 18, 2015 – Shelved
March 20, 2015 – Finished Reading

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