Here’s my selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday:
Author: Tim Wynne-Jones
Illustrator: Brian Won
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2016
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Theme/Topic: Action, Adventure, Humor, Imagination, How to Tie Your Shoes
Opening Spread: S.A.M. is digging for the Lost City of Raisins … He is tracking down the treacherous green spitting bug, balancing on high places, and stealing home.
Brief Synopsis: (from Candlewick)
Secret Agent Man (S.A.M.) needs new shoes. His mom — er, sidekick, “K” (short for Kay) — takes him shopping. But the operation will be dangerous: to start with, Shoe Store Man looks shifty. “Frisk him,” says S.A.M. With the help of a Team of Expert Spies and keen observation skills, will Sam find that his brand-new tiger-striped shoes convey a new superpower . . . and that he can now tie his own shoelaces? Imaginative play is the mission in this witty picture book with retro illustrations that cleverly merge S.A.M.’s escapades with the ordinary world. Roar!
Resources: Here’s a whole website on Top Spy Secrets. We may need to go around and rename parts of our house based on the spread I mention below.
Why I Like This Book: The first spread sets up agent Secret Agent Man or S.A.M.’s imagination as he plays and the second spread immediately lets us know the reality of his world. It’s a fun story from the first page to the last. My favorite spread is near the end as S.A.M. tries to find K (his mom). He looks int he Secret Chamber of Silence, the Holding Cell of Despair, Torture Chamber, Rocket Silo, and the Darkest Valley of Doom. Most parents will laugh at this. I was going to be secretive about what each item represents, but Illustrator Brian Won has this spread on his website. Take a look. I hope it makes you smile like I did. I discovered this one while searching the library’s online collection for shoe tying books.
For more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog.