Monday 30 April 2012

121. Ophelia Wild, Secret Spy by Elena de Roo illustrated by Tracy Duncan

Ophelia Wild, Secret Spy by Elena de Roo illustrated by Tracy Duncan
Published April 2012 Walker Books

From the publisher:
Feisty Ophelia Wild decides to set up her own detective agency, with its headquarters in her tree house. Along with her assistant, Albert, she foils bullies, solves a meat-pie mystery, and cracks the case of the disappearing dentures.

This is the second book by New Zealand author, Elena de Roo.  It's a fun quick read about the exploits of feisty Ophelia Wild.  It's also a story told in verse.  Unlike many other verse novels this one is told in rhyming verse.  At first I wasn't sure about that, as a fan of verse novels, it was strange to read one that read (to me) like a picture book.  After I got into the swing of the rhythm and the rhyme of the story, I felt that this type of verse just added to the quirky charm of the story.

Ophelia has set up shop as a spy in a tree house located at the top of a hollowed out tree. Her business cards are scribbled on dry autumn leaves and tossed into the air to see where the breeze takes them.  The business cards don't actually bring her clients, but Albert finds his way to the tree house, as a place you hide out from the Bullyboy Gang.  With Albert's help, Ophelia manages to scare away the gang using the hollowed out tree, a tub of yoghurt and some grapes. 

After this Ophelia and Albert become a team.  There are three stories in this book, the first is where Ophelia and Albert meet, while the other two are stories where the team get to use their exceptional spying skills.  The Bullyboy Gang feature again, but we also meet Olga, the tuckshop lady, Ollie, a resident at Leafy Oaks Inn and the very sneaky Comet.

It's a really good, fun read with illustrations featuring heavily on every page.  Partly because of the rhyme and partly because there are such strong illustrations in this book, makes me think it will work really well for beginning readers who are moving on from picture books.  In saying that, older readers will still like love the characters and the identifiable story lines.

Who will like this book: Girls age 6+
Read it if you like: Violet Mackerel series by Anna Branford

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