My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Purloined Pictograph, by Terry Marchion, is a marvelous adventure for middle-grade kids. The story takes place on a colonized planet similar to Earth. The main character is a bright boy who proves he can act responsibly and bravely when facing a crisis. His uncle, a brilliant inventor, brightens each page with his eccentric antics—as does the rotund professor they follow to an archeological dig. (In contrast, the villain was not well rounded, and the reason given for her nefarious deeds was weak, even considering the target audience.)
The Purloined Pictograph is second in a series. As I have not read the first, I did not learn until mid-book that the protagonist was, in fact, a young teen. Due to his numerous giggles, I pictured him to be a precocious ten-year-old. This belated revelation did not detract from the story, however.
I love the title of this book—it’s very Lemony Snicket-ish—and the cover perfectly depicts a major scene. Overall, I found The Purloined Pictograph to be exciting and engaging, and I recommend the book to even the most reluctant reader.