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de Roo, Elena (text) Tracy Duncan (illus.): Ophelia Wild, Secret Spy.

(b) [dagger][dagger] de ROO, Elena (text) Tracy Duncan (illus.) Ophelia Wild, Secret Spy Walker, 2012 79pp A$14.95 NZ$16.99 pbk ISBN 9781921529672 SCIS 1543133

Here is something completely unexpected: chapter book written completely in verse! Perhaps even more unexpected is that it works incredibly well! With her headquarters in her tree house and her business cards scribbled on dry autumn leaves, Ophelia Wild's detective agency is open for business. Her first customer is Albert, only he's not really a customer, he just needs somewhere to hide while the bullies pursuing him leave. Ophelia decides to help Albert by using her quick thinking to give the bullies a fright. A friendship is formed and together the two solve the mystery of the disappearing pies and a mystery involving an elderly man, a cat, a toupee, bifocal glasses, boxers and false teeth. The three stories divide the book in thirds, ensuring a manageable fast-paced story.

The verse is a joy to read. It is uncomplicated and flows well. The theme of friendship and the exploration of the highs and lows of friendships adds depth to this fun detective story. Grey scale illustrations, both funny and quirky, balance with the text nicely. Ophelia almost leaps off the front cover, due to her placement against a landscape of subtle greens and blues. Highly recommended.

(b) An outstanding New Zealand book of its kind as recommended by the reviewer

[dagger][dagger] Book by a New Zealand author or illustrator

COPYRIGHT 2012 Children's Book Council of Australia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Fornasier, Kylie
Publication:Reading Time
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2012
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