A new book titled "Capture the Flag" by Kate Messner arrived in the mail last month. After a busy few weeks, I had time to sit down and read. It is less than 300 pages, so the story has to move along at a good clip. The basic plot centers on the theft of the "Star Spangled Banner" from the Smithsonian Museum of American History.
During a private museum party attended by three seventh graders and their parents, an amazing lapse in security in this post-9/11 world allows the bad guys to make off with the national treasure.
The setting then moves to the regional airport where the weather has grounded all flights for the duration of the story. The kids and a dog are then off on a real life "Scooby-Doo" meets "National Treasure" mystery. An adventure to locate the flag they believe might be at the airport hidden as checked luggage.
Continuing lapses in airport security (for plot and storyline purposes of course) allow the young "Scooby" gang to investigate, at will, the internal workings of the complex airport luggage handling system as suggested by the book jacket artwork.
The mystery is eventually solved, the treasure recovered and a final surprise is revealed in a link that involves the parents of the "Scooby" gang and tangentially the kids.
Overall, it is a fun, fast-paced story that I think might appeal to 4th-6th graders.