I read a preview copy of this book on my kindle when I was approached to do the illustrations for it - and I loved it! I think the premise of the story is perfect for the 9-11 age group - I remember having my own spy club as a child and I would have loved to have had a proper mystery to investigate like the one Harry, James and Stacey do. The book is fun and exciting with both light-hearted and more serious elements. I liked the switch of point of view between the three main characters as it meant I got to know each one individually. I found them all likeable and, from a child's perspective, easy to identify with which made the climax of the story all the more exciting! My nine and seven year old sons really want to read the book now too (the title alone was enough to get them hooked) but they're waiting for the print version. We can't wait for the launch in April!
by Maddy Bennett
I loved this book; it's a fun, warm and ultimately dramatic tale about what can happen when a group of friends set out to solve mysteries – and get more than they bargained for. The three friends are all strong and believable characters. I have a special soft spot for Harry; I was rooting for him throughout and can imagine lots of children will identify with him. The book is an inspiring story of cunning and curiosity, of friendship under pressure, and a pure pleasure to read – for children and for any adults lucky enough to read the book with them.
by Vicky Blunden
The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants: I’m sure this story will be a hit with middle grade readers on its title alone.
The story starts off with our would-be spies investigating thefts from washing lines. The initial culprit turns out to be unexpected, but harmless, and I was concerned that the story might be a bit bland even for the intended 9-11 age group. Happily, I needn’t have worried, as events quickly escalate into something much more sinister and thrilling.
Harry, James and Stacey take turns narrating the events of their summer spy club and I liked that this gives readers an insight into the minds of three children. I loved their imagination and innocent logic as they try to solve mysteries (both real and make-believe) and I liked that Stacey turns out to be a strong character, especially after the boys tease her in the early part of the story.
This is a fun book with an eye-catching cover, an engaging plot and a believable cast of characters which I’m sure young readers will identify with.