Spy Toys by Mark Powers, illustrated by Tim Wesson.
The world’s leading toy manufacturer makes playthings for the rich and famous, and every toy they create contains a tiny computerised brain and a unique personality. These toys are seriously awesome! But every so often there’s a faulty toy…
Dan is a Snugaliffic Cuddlestar bear – he should be perfect for hugging. But because of a faulty chip, Dan is so strong he could crush a car. Thrown on to the rejects pile, he meets Arabella, a Loadsasmiles Sunshine Doll, who has a very short temper and is absolutely NOT good with children. Soon Dan, Arabella and Flax (a custom-made police robot rabbit gone AWOL) are recruited by the mysterious Auntie Roz, and together they make up The Spy Toys. Their first mission: to protect the prime minister’s son from being kidnapped…
Dan the Snugaliffic Cuddlestar Bear really wants to be able to do what he was made for – give people a hug and play! But he’s so super-strong he just can’t help but squash anyone he hugs. Thankfully, he’s given a second chance by Auntie Roz, along with Arabella – a doll with attitude to say the least – and Flax – the oddly clever bunny. Hoping to prove themselves, they become Spy Toys! After some rigorous training – with the help of the McBiff Triplets – the Toys first mission of protecting the Prime Minister’s son is more of a challenge than it first seems. Soon they are thrown headlong into a thrilling spy mission to defeat a maniacal villain. Dan and his new comrades not only have to learn to get along and fight the baddies, but also overcome their own ‘faults’ to succeed….
A fantastic story full of thrills and spills and perfect for younger readers (age 6+). Who wouldn’t love a story about toys coming to life?! Spy Toys is reminiscent of childhood favourites- think Super Ted and Danger Mouse. Add to the mix elements of Alex Rider (Stormbreaker) and young James Bond, and you get Spy Toys. Children will love the action sequences, humour and general mayhem caused by our heroes, and by characters such as the McBiff Triplets and arch enemy Rusty Flumptrunk.
You can’t help but like Dan, who so wants to get it right; it might take a little longer to warm to Arabella – who couldn’t be further from a ‘Sunshine Doll’! Bold and bright illustrations by Tim Wesson, bring the humour to life and aside from all the fun and excitement, the message that just because there’s something ‘wrong’ with you doesn’t mean you can’t achieve anything is evident throughout. All in all, Spy Toys is a great fun read which I’m sure will have children clamouring for the next one, in this sure- to- be- a- hit series. And there’s a game tie-in adding to the appeal for the more reluctant reader!
With thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me this book to review.