Praise for The Impossible Crime (Mac B., Kid Spy #2): :An instant New York Times bestseller!"Barnett opens his casebook again-this time to solve a classic locked-room mystery...Almost every page contains Lowery's illustrations, loosely drawn and garishly colored in green and orange, which give the whole affair a zany feel that is much enhanced by the narrative with its running gags. Kudos to a pint-size Poirot, pre-Mustache!" - Booklist"Barnett's signature dry wit and snappy back-and-forths, particularly between the ingenuously sincere Mac and the standoffish Queen, keep the story steadily moving forward; a convoluted historical account of Colonel Blood's attempted robbery...Lowery's cartoony spot art, in black, green, and orange, provides additional historical and cultural information and frequently supports the narrative." - Horn Book"Barnett and Lowery team up again in this second outing of international espionage mystery with royal overtones... this is a nifty mystery for young readers and a worthy sequel to the first." - Kirkus ReviewsPraise for Mac Undercover (Mac B., Kid Spy #1):A New York Times bestseller!An Amazon Best Book of 2018* "Barnett and Lowery bring the funny to the serious art of espionage in a perfect interplay of text and illustration...Barnett interweaves tidbits of global history fit for trivia lovers, while Lowery's comic-style images play a key role in the humor...Told with a sense of nostalgia for 1980s history and pop culture, the silliness and originality of this book will hook young readers." School Library Journal, starred review"Barnett takes his readers on a fun-filled ride...Barnett's tone throughout the story is humorous, lighthearted, and a little glib, and the over-the-top story is sure to appeal to many readers...an enjoyable romp that will leave readers salivating for the sequel." Kirkus Reviews"[Barnett's] riotous series debut as an adult recalling a 1980s childhood caper...goofy, two-color pictures by Lowery (the Doodle Adventure series) ramp up the silliness of this adventure...which should snare even the most hesitant readers." Publishers Weekly"Barnett's knack for both quirky situational humor and heartfelt sentiment work in tandem to create a balanced-while still outrageous-early-chapter-book caper. Lowery's frequent cartoony black, yellow, and blue spot illustrations are integral to the narrative, providing clues to eagle-eyed readers and enhancing the humor." The Horn Book"Barnett's series falls squarely in line with works from Jon Scieszka's and Dav Pilkey's oeuvres, offering kids another solid choice for what to read next." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"Funny as a crumpet. (But truly, secretly a hundred times smarter.)"Jon Scieszka, author of Caldecott Honor The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and the New York Times bestselling series Frank Einstein."With a perfectly absurd premise, dialogue that demands outlandish accents, and a plot that interweaves global history and complete silliness, Barnett royally nails it." Abby Hanlon, author of the Dory Fantasmagory series.Praise for Top Secret Smackdown (Mac B., Kid Spy #3):"Exciting action sneakily infused with points about the relationship between reality and story, delivered by a narrator who can claim with literal truth that he saved the day "on porpoise." - Kirkus ReviewsPraise for Mac Barnett:[Mac Barnett is] a great young writer of books for young people. If you haven't read his work, run somewhere and do that. Books for young people have a rich and I daresay limitless futureknock anyone who says otherwise into a ditchand Mac has a central place within that limitless future. Don't bet against him or anyone like him." Dave Eggers"[In Barnett's books] there is no magic solution to any problem: The characters stumble through their dilemmas just as every one of us does. The world is a difficult yet good place, and there is no need for the typical rose-colored lenses that other children's books put on situations in order to fend off the bad stuff." Yiyun Li"He is a believer that picture books can have Swiftian absurdity and untidy endings, and that 'life is absurd, and kids know that.'" The San Francisco Chronicle
This young spy does not suffer from the sophomore slump!
Barnett and Lowery team up again in this second outing of international espionage mystery with royal overtones. In 1989, the queen of England once again calls on young Mac after she receives a letter threatening the theft of the crown jewels. Neatly interwoven with Mac's caper is the true story of Col. Thomas Blood, a 17th-century thief of the aforementioned jewels. Barnett combines mystery, riddles, a lot of humor, an engaging first-person narration, and nostalgia for all things 1980s into a (mostly) smooth whodunit for young readers. Readers of Chris Barton and Don Tate's Whoosh! (2016) or kids who've written a report on Lonnie Johnson will notice one anachronism: The Super Soaker may have been invented in 1982, but it was only released in 1990 and branded under that name in 1991. Lowery's believably childlike cartoons, done in black and white with bright yellow and green highlights, are amusing but don't always correspond with the text (partly due to this color choice, explained in a prefatory note young readers might well ignore). Quibbles aside, this is a nifty mystery for young readers and a worthy sequel to the first. Here's hoping No. 3 will get all the details right and add some characters of color to diversify the white-presenting cast.
This romp will definitely find an audience. (Mystery. 7-10)