________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 6. . . .November 7, 2008


Secret Spies. (Kids Can Read).

Adrienne Mason. Illustrated by Pat Cupples.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $5.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-277-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55453-276-6 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Dogs-Juvenile fiction.
Spies-Juvenile fiction.
Detective and mystery stories.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Christine Torchia.

*** /4



Lu and Clancy went up to the attic.

"Achoo!" Clancy sneezed.

He brushed the cobweb off his nose.

"This is Aunt Izzy's trunk," said Lu.

She lifted the lid.

There were wigs and costumes, maps and much more. Clancy found a map that said "Top Secret."

Lu found a note Written in code.

"Is Aunt Izzy a spy?" asked Lu.

"We are dog detectives," said Clancy.

"Lets find out."

Lu and Clancy decided to follow Aunt Izzy.

"We can put on costumes so she will not know who we are," said Lu.


Who doesn't want to be a spy!! Loveable characters Lu and Clancy are dog detectives who discover a trunk in Lu's Attic. The trunk belonging to Aunt Izzy is filled with costumes and a secret map. The two friends decide to use their detective skills to find out if Aunt Izzy is a real spy. They dress up in the costumes, fill up their backpacks with spy gear and follow Aunt Izzy around town. While watching Aunt Izzy, they wonder if everyone she talks to are also spies. The two friends lose sight of Aunt Izzy while ducking to hide from Lu's pestering sister, Sophie. Deciding they may never find out if Aunt Izzy is a spy, the dog detectives head home to their tree house only to find clues that someone has been there ahead of them. Aunt Izzy calls the pair for tea, but, before they go, Clancy places a burglar alarm under the tree house carpet to catch any more intruders. Aunt Izzy is curious why Lu and Clancy are in costume, but before they can explain, their burglar alarm goes off. In the tree house, they discover muddy foot prints. The duo follow the foot prints into the house where they find Aunt Izzy and Sophie holding muddy rubber boots. Sophie is excited that she has tricked the detective friends. Aunt Izzy admits she has been teaching Sophie all her spy tricks. Lu and Clancy were right! Aunt Izzy is a real spy! Aunt Izzy tells the pups she will share all her spy secrets, even where spies go to get the best donuts.

internal art     Secret Spies is a great story for budding independent readers. As an adult reading this story, I found it didn't always flow smoothly from one idea to the next. In the beginning, the author describes how Lu is being bugged by her sister to play. Lu wants to do nothing but have a day off from everything, but then the story jumps to Clancy's arriving with a tuba and then on to the detective friends finding the trunk. Nonetheless, both my children (age 7 & 10) enjoyed reading the book with ease and also recommended it for young readers as a transition to reading chapter books. Secret Spies is a fun story that introduces young readers to a few challenging words along with familiar vocabulary and colorful picture clues. Be sure to check out the back page and extend your child's reading experience following the writer's guidelines for dressing up like a spy.


Christine Torchia is an early childhood educator/educational assistant and mother of two elementary school children in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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