Review Detail

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

Fun Notebook Novel Spy Romp

In this notebook novel, author Barnett explains to his readers what he did before he became a children's author. Because Mac is one of the better kids in his class, he gets a phone call from the Queen of England asking him to drop everything, come to England, and solve a mystery for her. She'll even write him a note for his parents and school. He visits the queen, and she tells him that a very important spoon with a lot of history was stolen from her, probably by the president of France after she got irritated and stuck her tongue out at him. She didn't realize he was looking! Even though Mac is unimpressed with British biscuits, he does enjoy the queen's dogs, so takes off for France with one of the corgis, Freddie. There is more to this mystery than meets the eye, and given the 1980s setting, it's highly likely that the USSR and the KGB will play a part in this fun spy mystery that also shows the grave importance of having a pair of perfectly faded blue jeans!

Good Points
This author came to my attention with his Terrible Two series, as well as the Brixton Brothers books, and he definitely has embraced his inner ten-year-old in a very successful way! I love the author's note that explains that he was a conselor in a camp, and told these stories to his campers! It's goofy fun that asks us just to suspend our disbelief. It is an extremely well formatted book, with a good mix of pictures and a good size of font. This will be a big hit with emergent readers as well as struggling middle school ones who only want "books with pictures". I appreciated that it was clever enough for me to find amusing as well.

Children will suspend their disbelief this easily, because what middle school students COULDN'T be a spy? Of course, they probably will have a harder time believing that Mac can trade things for the blue jeans than believing that he is working for the queen. Few of my students wear anything but track pants to school!

I could really go for a custard cream (biscuit) right now, or even a McVitie's wholemeal digestive, even though they DON'T have chocolate chips! (Or a Cadbury Milk Chocolate Finger!) Readers who gobble up books like Timmy Failure, Tom Gates, Big Nate or Steve Moore's King of the Bench series will find this to be a tasty addition to their Book Biscuit Tin!
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