Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music by Darlene Foster

When Amanda Ross, 12, and her family are invited to join her friend Leah Anderson and Leah's family on a cruise down the Danube River as it wanders through Germany, Austria, and Hungary, she jumps at the chance. Amanda is quite the traveler, having already visited Arabia, Spain, England, where Leah lives, and Alberta, Canada, where Amanda lives.

The cruise ship, called The Sound of Music, begins the Danube tour in Nuremberg, Germany. The two friends are sharing a cabin, and there is a cute cruise director, Michael, to help them get oriented. After a morning tour, packed with information about Nuremberg, Amanda and Leah go off on their own to visit the stalls in the market.

No sooner are they alone, when Amanda is summoned between two stalls by what she thinks is the same young boy with curly blond hair she had just seen playing his violin in from of one of the city's famous sights. Except now he looks rather shabby and has a badly bleeding thumb. He begs Amanda to take his violin back to the ship for safe keeping, promising to meet up with her in Vienna.

No sooner do the two girls walk away, when a familiar looking young boy with curly blond hair tries to pull the violin out of Amanda's hand. The girls make it back to the ship with it, but it soon becomes clear that someone wants the violin very badly. But who and why is a mystery. And why does the boy with curly blond hair keep showing up?

Back on the ship, the girls meet Claus Schmidt, who could be a Santa look alike with his big bushy white beard and rather large stomach, and his wife Enid. On their next stop, Regensburg, after the morning tour, Amanda and Leah stop into a shop where they run into Klaus and his nephew, Sebastian, a familiar looking boy with curly blond hair. No sooner are they gone, when the boy who gave Amanda the violin shows up with his thumb bandaged and asks if she still has his violin. And then Leah is hit by a boy on a skateboard who looks suspiciously like Sebastian.

It doesn't take long for Amanda to figure out everyone, perhaps even Klaus and his wife, is interested in the violin she is hiding. But why? It is a mystery Amanda is determined to solve, especially after the boy who gave it to her disappears.

This is the 5th book in the Amanda Travels series, a series that is new to me. Amanda seems to find a mystery to solve in each country she visits, and Germany is no different. Mixed in with the mystery, however, is a whole lot of information about the country visited, along with some wonderful descriptions of the landscape along the Danube River.

Amanda is a very likable, realistic contemporary character, curious about her surroundings and the places she visits. Leah was somewhat annoying in this book, and I can't speak for the four previous stories since I haven't read them yet, but she is always texting, even finagling her father out of his phone on the pretense of taking pictures after he took hers away so she could continue texting her friends back in London.

This is such a well-written, well researched book for middle grade fans of mysteries. It is a fast-paced adventure, with lots of action and believable secondary characters. And it is just dark and sinister enough to satisfy any young reader. After reading Amanda on the Danube, I bought another book in this series, Amanda in London, which I am looking forward to reading soon, and I am also curious to see where Amanda and Leah are off to in the next book in the Amanda Travels series.

Amanda's previous adventures

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was provided to my by the publisher, Central Avenue Publishing

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful way to write travel books for kids! These sound fun, and I'm glad you are recommending them for the information, too! I've been on a day cruise on the Danube, so your title intrigued me immediately. Thanks, Alex. And have fun with that Cybil's judging too. Lots of great books there!


Imagination Designs