SPY DAD by Jukka Laajarinne


by ; illustrated by ; translated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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A father who’s a spy tries to give it all up to spend time with his daughter.

This Finnish import is a mix of a spy thriller and a family drama, and if that sounds rather like the film Mr. and Mrs. Smith, it isn’t. At all. From the start, the man’s two roles as father and spy intermix: While dangling from a helicopter he takes a call from his daughter, who’s wheedling for a hamster. After he listens to his daughter’s wish to have more time with her parents and resigns, the adventure they have together is fueled more by some nefarious operatives who are chasing them than by any interests the duo share. Indeed, mothers everywhere may shiver at the danger this dad exposes his daughter to, although all of it may go over readers’ heads. Only careful observation of the retro-colored, digital-looking illustrations (and knowledge of spy tropes) reveals all that is going on, as the dad is careful to keep Olivia in the dark. Problematically, this may mean that readers won’t get the tale at all, the pair seemingly changing their minds at random, or worse, they will get only the violent bits: The car blows up after lunch. And a couple of references to not working, not having money to spend, and being poor are likely to fall flat. All the characters present white; the dad perpetually wears either a Lone Ranger mask or glasses that look exactly like one.

Skip this one. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-62371-993-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2018


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