Bigwood, Kira

Secret, Secret Agent Guy

(2) PS Illustrated by Celia Krampien. This pre-bedtime caper, set to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," cleverly showcases a precocious and charming sibling trio immersed in creative play. The story opens with a classic film noir trope--a spotlit secret agent receiving a clandestine message; however, in this case our agent is a young boy in pajamas, and the message is delivered via paper airplane. The mission (aptly titled "­OPERATION LOLLIPOP!") appears to be the brainchild of the boy's twin brother--and, like most spy stories, necessitates gadgets, intrigue, and a rendezvous. A variety of well-designed page layouts drives the narrative, including double-page spreads and smartly sequenced comic panels that enhance Bigwood's spare, singsong-y rhymes. Only after the fedora-clad agent sneaks past his unsuspecting parents, sets up a tripwire trap, and eludes the family dog is the lollipop secured. A completely satisfying double-cross by the twins' younger sister builds to a sweetly comical conclusion in which--spoiler alert--the lollipop ends up in her possession. Krampien's illustrations are clear, cartoony, and boldly outlined. Additionally, her expressive colors, moody lighting, and keen attention to background details add both narrative and visual depth. A playful title for readers looking for a little action and suspense (and welcome casual diversity) in their bedtime story.


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