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Agent A To Agent Z Hardcover – February 1, 2004
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Can Agent A complete his mission and uncover a rogue spy? Find out, in this silly, spy-themed alphabet book by illustrator-author Andy Rash (The Robots Are Coming) as you walk through the alphabet one letter (and one secret agent) at a time.
Agent A receives an urgent mission from the boss: "Every spy who is official/ uses words with his initial./ But one spy is out of line./ I need to know his name by nine." So the faithful agent takes off, racing through the alphabet to find the troublemaker: "Agent B correctly chooses/ Blue and so the Bomb defuses"; "Agent C is Crawling up/ the window using suction Cups." Crossing suspects off his list, Agent A works his way through a goofy, bumbling crew of colleagues who wear all sorts of crazy gear to complete their missions: "Agent I is Incognito,/ posing as a large mosquito". All the stories check out, until Agent A makes a startling discovery that could get him kicked out of the agency (and make him miss the big Agent Dance!).
Rash keeps the pace fast and funny, drawing dynamic spreads that maintain the book's mock-serious, Get Smart tone while still providing plenty of colorful, comedic details, from surreptitiously poisoned martinis to a gadget-equipped circular agent bed. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes
From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3--In a takeoff on Mission Impossible, cartoonist Rash sets up a clever plot for an alphabet book. The narrative begins before the title page when Agent A receives a message ordering him to find a bogus spy who does not use a word beginning with his or her initial. He sets off and makes his way through the list of agents, each of whom is described in a rhyming couplet ("Agent I is Incognito, posing as a large mosquito"). Some couplets scan better than others ("Agent C is Crawling up/the window using suction Cups"). "Agent N decodes a Note/to learn that it was one he wrote." "Agent W attacks/a spy she didn't know was Wax." However, the theme is fun and well executed. The humorous illustrations, drawn in ink and digitally colored, are filled with the stuff of spy thrillers: black backgrounds or frames, shadows, an overhead bulb casting a triangle of light in a dark office, and Agent A skulking around every corner. Small black smudges add texture. The spies themselves are especially ridiculous with their silly disguises, nutty kung-fu moves, and abundant mishaps. Youngsters may guess the surprise ending before this crazy caper concludes, but they'll definitely enjoy the mission.--Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT
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It's definitely more for the older end of the picture book market, but if you've got a kid who will appreciate an action-packed, somewhat sophisticated alphabet book, get it for them. If not, get it for yourself.