Spy, Spy Again
True Tales of Failed Espionage
written and illustrated by Tina Holdcroft
Annick Press, 2011
ISBN 978-1-55451-222-5 (sc)
ISBN 978-1-55451-223-2 (hc)
$14.95/$24.95, 112 pp, ages 10 – 14
Everyone wants to get ahead, to have an edge over the enemy or the competition, and so, throughout history, they have tried to find out what the other was doing by spying. This is the stuff of James Bond or Alex Rider—suave, dashing and supremely competent. Not in this book! Spy, Spy Again looks at the bloopers, the things that went wrong in the world of true espionage since we have been able to record these stories. In the spirit of blooper outtake reels, twenty stories are presented in graphic novel style, organized into five chapters (plans that didn’t foresee the unpredictable, miscommunication, great ideas that backfired, underestimating the opposition, and of course, the classic double-cross). The stories are drawn and told tongue-in-cheek, making the reader scratch his/her head and ask: “What were these guys thinking?” Even the reluctant reader in older grades will find things that will be interesting enough to actually read… Included is a bibliography and a webography.
This book lends itself well to teaching reading comprehension strategies: making predictions, making connections, asking questions, inferring. Discussions could focus on the consequences of not being prepared or not researching properly and of making assumptions. These stories illustrate how history really works and demonstrate that behind the stories we are told there are some less well-known facts.
Review by Mary Moroska.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Sept/Oct 2011 issue.