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Children's LiteratureMeet Team Spy Gear: Jake Bixby, 13, (the leader); brother Lucas, 11, whose gadget obsession comes in handy; Cyril, Jake's best friend and computer geek; and courageous, agile Lexi, the Bixbys' neighbor. Their adventures begin when Lucas convinces them all to explore the infamous Stoneship Woods, reasoning that by demystifying it, they'll stop fearing it. They find an abandoned warehouse, maneuver their way inside . . . and discover a world of high-tech spy equipment! Cyril decodes the computer and locates a satellite surveillance system monitoring the "Farmhouse," a legendary creepy place on the outskirts of town. Decked out in spy accoutrements, the team explores the Farmhouse, locating a suspicious black cable in the pumpkin patch, and meeting friendly hippie dude Marco, who's been renting the house for three weeks. Back at the warehouse, they find photos of Marco at the Farmhouse dating back to 18 months earlier! After further investigation, they deduce that Marco's trying to bring down the entire Internet. Using brains, agility, and sheer nerve, the kids thwart his evil plan. The first in the "Spy Gear Adventures" series, this book is fun for both kids and adults. Borrowing from Lemony Snicket, the author includes himself as a character, and his voice is truly funny: "In the case of the Crush soccer club, 'developmental' meant 'future members of Navy SEAL Team Bravo.'" Since Barba's wit is as sophisticated as it is humorous, this book is recommended for upper middle readers. 2006, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, Ages 10 to 14.