STARRED REVIEW
May 12, 2015

Mission accepted—but a long way to go

By Jessica Young, illustrated by Charles Santoso

Spy Guy takes readers on a colorful romp through a little boy’s desire to become something he clearly is not—a spy! He is altogether too clumsy, too noisy, too squeaky and in all manners too un-sneaky to be a spy. Plagued by his own awkwardness, noisy shoes, the lack of a good disguise and a head cold, his goal of becoming a consummate spy seems unattainable.

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Spy Guy takes readers on a colorful romp through a little boy’s desire to become something he clearly is not—a spy! He is altogether too clumsy, too noisy, too squeaky and in all manners too un-sneaky to be a spy. Plagued by his own awkwardness, noisy shoes, the lack of a good disguise and a head cold, his goal of becoming a consummate spy seems unattainable.

Luckily he has the help of the Chief, otherwise known as his dad, who acts as his mentor and guru regarding all things “spyish.” Dad tells the boy that he must discover the secret of spying for himself, which in time, of course, he does, taking a cue from an eight-legged silent and stealthy creature.

The little boy may have started his mission to become a spy on a whim, but as the pages turn we learn how much trial, error and hard work goes into achieving a goal. Author Jessica Young (My Blue Is Happy) uses rhyme and repetition to emphasis the story’s message: “The secret to spying / Is never stop trying.” Charles Santoso, a prolific Australia-based illustrator of books and animated films, brings movement and a sense of play to the pages, particularly during the sneezing and burping scenes.

This is a fun blend of savvy parenting and on-point comedy.

 

Billie B. Little is the Founding Director of Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, a hands-on museum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Spy Guy

Spy Guy

By Jessica Young, illustrated by Charles Santoso
HMH
ISBN 9780544208599

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