A New Series by the Author of the Award-Winning Clarice Bean Books!

Fact: Kids rarely tire of spy chapter books. Plenty of intrigue and derring-do. Clues to sniff out and secret codes to crack. Plots race along as feisty characters poke and prod into mysterious circumstances and fall into potentially hairy situations. What’s a kid to do but burn through pages in hopes of solving the offending riddle first?

As I believe I have mentioned in a previous post, I definitely had aspirations of following in Nancy Drew’s footsteps when I was a knobby-kneed pre-teen. My friends and I had a notebook full of codes only we could understand. We figured out how to make invisible ink (I’ll go to my grave with the recipe) in order to communicate with each other. We had a clubhouse (a treehouse, of course) where we met to decide which cases needed solving and should be added to our agenda for the week. Keeping the neighborhood in-check was a hard job. But someone – or should I say some kids – had to do it.

In Ruby Redfort Look Into My Eyes, the first book in bestselling author Lauren Child’s (Utterly Me, Clarice BeanI Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato) new series, the indomitable Ruby Redfort (who Child’s fans will recognize as her character Clarice Bean’s favorite fictional heroine) is just that person. Although her socialite parents are practically brainless and her friends – aside from her trusty sidekick Clancy Crew (Get it? Eh?) – are merely concerned with mundane activities like basketball practice and studying for good grades, Ruby has just the right combination of spunk and smarts to dive head-first in over her head to not only prevent potential crimes but have fun while doing it.

In this mostly zippy first episode, Child sets the stage for Ruby’s future career in espionage, starting out with a bang. Not long after her parents return from a jaunt to Switzerland, Ruby comes home from school to find that the furniture in her gargantuan palace of a house has vanished – and so has the housekeeper. While her parents don’t seem to be terribly bothered about the clear-out (her mother’s more worried about the ruinous stain her irreplaceable Oscar Birdet jacket sustained after bumping into a mysterious man carrying a drink at the airport), Ruby suspects it’s more than just your run-of-the-mill robbery and vows to get the bottom of it. Before long, she’s tripped over a legendary crime crew’s planned bank heist cum undercover plot to steal a precious ancient Jade Buddha statue from her town’s museum, and must put a stop to it before it’s too late!

Meanwhile, the precocious 13-year-old has just been recruited by the intelligence agency Spectrum, unbeknownst to anyone except her on-again off-again partner Clancy, and her code-cracking skills combined with her nose for spotting the unfamiliar in the otherwise ordinary make for exciting adventures through underground passageways in search of useful spy escape-gadgets, dusty agency safe-houses packed with top-secret files, and into luxury hotel rooms disguised as a waiter hot on the tail of a suspiciously elusive redhead wearing large sunglasses. Oh yes, there are car chases too.

To read the rest of this post, please visit Letter Blocks: The B&N Parents and Educators Blog.

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