Saturday, September 15, 2018

Cartoon Saturday- Mac Undercover (Mac B., Kid Spy #1)

Mayo, Lulu. How to Draw a Unicorn and Other Cute Animals
September 11th 2018 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher

Fun fact: I didn't buy my children coloring books. They don't really encourage creativity. We did, however, have just about all of the Ed Emberly books and several Lee J. Ames' titles, and I spent several quality years with my thumbs permanently inked so the girls could embellish thumbprints! Those are now much older titles, so it's good to see new books coming out.

This book has 30 different cute animals to draw, from unicorns and llamas to sloths, and has tips on how to embellish them with clothing and colors. I tried a few, just to see how I would do, and the results weren't bad. The colors and styles in this are very 2018 (that ubiquitous light turquoise!), making this a very pretty book just to look at. The only thing that would keep this from being in a library is that there is space provided for doing drawings, which just never ends well! I would definitely have purchased this for my children, and I'm sure it would have been a favorite.

Barnett, Mac and Lowery, Mike. Mac Undercover (Mac B., Kid Spy #1)
September 11th 2018 by Orchard Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus
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!
Strengths: This author came to my attention with his Terrible Two series, as well as the Brixton Brothers books that Iron Guy Carl recommended to me. I love the author's note that explains that he was a counselor 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.
Weaknesses: Will children suspend their disbelief this easily? 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!
What I really think: 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!)

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