Capture the Flag

by Kate Messner

Hardcover, 2012

Call number



Scholastic Press (2012), 240 pages


When the original Star Spangled Banner is stolen, seventh-graders Anne, José, and Henry, all descendants of the Silver Jaguar Society, pursue suspects on airport carts and through baggage handling tunnels while stranded at a Washington, D.C., airport during a snowstorm.

User reviews

LibraryThing member KarenBall
"We are hoping that the person or persons responsible for this crime will come to understand that they possess an irreplaceable piece of America's history... It could be destroyed very easily if it's not kept under certain atmospheric conditions. Time is important... Please... Return the Star
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Spangled Banner to the American people."
Anna, Henry and Jose had never met until the gala at the Smithsonian Museum of American History during their February break. They meet again shortly after at the airport, when a massive blizzard shuts down all flights, and the morning news announces the theft of the Star Spangled Banner from the museum. As the three bored kids get to know each other, they discover a connection -- each of them has a relative in the Silver Jaguar Society, the secret international group pledged to protect famous artworks. Anna wonders aloud if the thief would also be trying to leave Washington, and what if he or she was actually stuck in the airport with everyone else? The mystery deepens with the appearance of the man with the crazy snake tattoo, the obnoxious blathering of Senator Robert Snickerbottom, and the addition of Sinan and his big gray poodle Hammurabi to the group. If you've ever wanted to ride the baggage conveyor belt in the airport, read this book -- that scene is great! Lots of clues, but lots of red herrings as well in this enjoyable mystery good for 6th grade and up.
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LibraryThing member Sullywriter
A most enjoyable, fast-paced mystery with good bits of history and politics blended in.
LibraryThing member KimJD
What a fun story, especially since it's set right in my backyard and we got to see the Star-Spangled Banner flag that's at the center of the mystery when the Smithsonian Museum of American History reopened a couple of years ago after renovations. Anna, Jose, and Henry are all at a museum gala with
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their parents or guardians, celebrating the unveiling of the restored flag, on the evening that it is stolen. They don't actually meet until the next day, when they are all snowed in at the airport together. As news of the flag's theft is reported, Anna realizes that there's a good chance that it's at the airport and that the thief can't make the quick getaway that he had intended. She begins tracking down clues with the (at first reluctant) help of her new friends. Through the story, Messner also touches on timely issues of political races, how we treat visitors to the country, and how news is reported. Reminiscent of the movie National Treasure, this is a fast-paced mystery that kids will enjoy. And the behind-the-scenes glimpses into airport life, especially the chase scenes through the large baggage storage areas, will seal the deal.
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LibraryThing member agrudzien
Just after attending a special night at the Smithsonian, three kids are stuck in the Washington D.C. airport and hear the news that the Star Spangled Banner flag has been stolen. When they realize that the theif and the flag must be stuck in the airport with them, they work together to find this
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piece of history before its too late!

This was such a fun mystery! It reminded me of a kid, American version of Da Vinci code (without the crazy code cracking - but with the history and mystery). It definitely highlights the idea of teamwork and building off of one another's strengths.
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LibraryThing member Tahleen
This book was enjoyed by most of my 3rd and 4th grade book club. The mystery was pretty good, if slightly predictable with the major culprits, though it did have a few surprises. I would recommend this book to any middle or older elementary level readers who like mysteries, especially if they like
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history or if they liked the movie National Treasure.
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LibraryThing member Renee.Brandon
Great fun. The star spangled banner is stolen and three unlikely friends try to figure out the thief. A book ghat makes you want to keep reading with shorter chapters and lots of suspense. Great for read aloud. Grades 4 and up.
LibraryThing member AB4Books
I read an amazing book call Capture the Flag by Kate Messner. It is about 3 completely unrelated kids, Anna, José, a.nd Henry.

When Anna, José, and Henry find themselves trapped in a Washington D.C airport for the night, they get news that the original flag was stolen from the Smithsonian Museum.
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When they are eating and listening to the news about the flag, the owner of the restaurant with a snake tattoo on his arm runs away! They end up calling him Snake-Arm because of his tattoo. They believe that he is the one who stole the flag and is part of a famous gang of people, the Serpentine Princes, who love to steal valuable treasures. At the same time with the news of the stolen flag, there is a presidential campaign between Senator Snickerbottom and the best grandma, both who are making people to vote for them by telling them that they will make the flag come back. Who shall win?

Each of the kids knows his or her family is part of a society called the Silver Jaguar Society. Their parents have pledged that they will protect every single national treasure. Anna, José and Henry do not know each other’s parents are all involved until Anna sees José’s mom wear a symbol of the society.

Although nobody is allowed in to the society until 18, Anna proposes that they have to follow Snake-Arm to protect the national treasure. When they follow Snake-Arm, they see him following Senator Snickerbottom. This makes them think that Snake-Arm has gone mad and is going to murder the Senator.

They follow Snake Arm all the way to the baggage claim. While splitting up to find Snake Arm among the luggage, Anna hears some people right below her ripping the flag. She immediately pulled out her video camera, but she drops it loudly onto the ground.

What will happen between Anna and those people? And most importantly, will the fate of the flag be doomed? Who is the real thief? Senator Snickerbottom or Snake Arm, or someone else?

My favorite character is Senator Snickerbottom because he seems to be very unfriendly and cautious with Anna. In addition, whenever a TV turns on, he’s in a rush without any reason. He is a person who well plans everything to look not suspicious.

After reading this book, the most favorite part of the book is when clever Henry pretends to play a game but was actually taking a video of Senator Snickerbottom! This video becomes an evidence of Senator Snickerbottom’s crime.

I would rate this amazing book 8 out of 10.
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LibraryThing member lkmuir
When the original Star Spangled Banner is stolen, seventh-graders Anne, José, and Henry, all descendants of the Silver Jaguar Society, pursue suspects on airport carts and through baggage handling tunnels while stranded at a Washington, D.C., airport during a snowstorm.
LibraryThing member VintageReader
I almost abandoned this book for the best possible reason: It's a children's book that seems to actually be written for children. Many of the middle-grade books I read seem to be written for adults who love children's literature--which is fine with me, since I'm one of those adults. :-) But this
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one is not like that.

As an adult, I found it silly or boring in spots, but I would have absolutely LOVED it when I was 10 or 11. The Silver Jaguar Society had me rolling my eyes (especially since it was revealed so early in the book), but I think it would have been a great hook for me in fourth grade. It has a diverse cast of characters (although you have to look at the cover art to fully realize that) and an adventure that I'm pretty sure a lot of kids would enjoy and actually be able to see themselves in--I think a lot of MG books with over-the-top adventures really miss the mark on that.

This is only the second book I've read by Kate Messner, and the other one (The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z) was very good too. I don't know that I'll read any more, but again, it's because she actually writes for children, not for middle-aged women. :-) I would enthusiastically recommend her to kids.
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LibraryThing member suesbooks
Ezzie and I read this book at about the same time. The writing was clever, and there was definitely a perspective that children could identify with. There were so many characters and organizations that I had trouble keeping everything straight, but the interactions of the children were interesting
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and not always predictable.
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Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 2015)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Grades 6-8 — 2014)
Mark Twain Readers Award (Nominee — 2015)
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2015)
Iowa Children's Choice Award (Nominee — 2016)
Maud Hart Lovelace Award (Nominee — 2017)
Reading Olympics (Elementary — 2024)




0545395399 / 9780545395397
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