Friday, 19 June 2015

James Bone and the Italian Job by Frank Bell and Elena D'Cruze-Reynolds (Children's, 9 years +, 10/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

January 2015, Acorn Independent Press, 96 pages, Hardback, Review copy 

Content: lots of action, humour, some peril

Summary from Amazon (I don't gain anything by mentioning them)
Hello, the name's Bone, James Bone, and I'm just the dog to get you out of trouble. Me and my other canine friends are busy working behind the scenes on top-secret missions to keep this great nation of ours safe. We risk our paws all over the globe so that you good people can carry on in a civilised society. And after a hard day's work protecting our green and pleasant land, I like to relax with my owner and celebrate with a dish of water, shaken not stirred. You humans don't know how lucky you are to have us coming to the rescue. Of course humans do have their place, especially our politician owners, but some jobs are just too big... they can only be sorted by CI6 (Canine Intelligence agency). One such job was rescuing Her Royal Majesty the Queen when she was kidnapped without a trace...

Nayu's thoughts
A very clever animal version of James Bond, with other famous characters thrown in who readers may know, and if they don't they can look them up. There's a lot of skill in how the characters in some ways fit the stereotype of their fictional selves which they are based on, and in others are unique to this story. I have to add that I liked how the key political and royal figures weren't named, only their position title was used so it could have been anyone – I intensely dislike when real life people are used as characters which interact heavily with other characters, as it feels wrong to me because who knows how those people may react.

The gadgets sounded like fun, and I loved the clothes the animals wear – and I'm not usually fond of dogs & cats in clothes. The pen and ink style illustrations are incredibly detailed, and I liked the way only one other colour was used to fill in a character's accessory. I certainly am looking forward to the next book in this fun series! 

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