Friday, April 21, 2006

Dawn Undercover

I picked up this book after reading some glowing reviews on other blogs, but I didn't love it quite as much as some other reviewers.

In this book, 11-year-old Dawn Buckle is recruited to become a spy for a secret British government agency to help them find a missing spy and discover the identity of a criminal named Murdo Meek. Dawn doesn't actually start off on her mission until about halfway through the book, which makes for a rather slow start.

I had problems with several points of the plot that didn't make any sense at all, like what are the special qualities in Dawn that the other agents think make her a good spy? The book hints that she's chosen because she's so bland she's never really noticed by anyone in her drab clothes and hair, but then the agency gives her a new stylish haircut and new clothes. And if Dawn is sent to recover a spy, why hasn't she ever at least seen a picture of the spy? She doesn't even recognize the spy when she meets her. I could go on and on.

The other problem that I had with the book is that Dawn is a very intelligent 11-year-old. Maybe I could go for her carrying around a stuffed animal, but she actually believes that it's real and it thinks and it does things for her like sacrificing it's own life to save her! How many 11-year-olds reading this book are going to believe that and relate to Dawn?

Even taking into account all of the issues I have with this book, I still enjoyed it. I loved all of the quirky characters Dawn meets and I absolutely love how British the whole book is. Many British children's books that are published in the US are adapted into American English, but it's apparent from the start that this book was untouched and I found it refeshing (although some kids admittedly might find it a little hard to understand).

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