Dirk Daring, Secret Agent

Helaine Becker, illus. by Jenn Playford. Orca, $9.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-4598-0683-2
Eleven-year-old Darren Dirkowitz—aka Dirk Daring, Secret Agent—is very serious about his spycraft. Becker's (Zoobots) story takes the form of Darren's top-secret journal, which is annotated with doodles and sarcastic notes from his best friend, Travis (code name: T-Bone), who thinks of his buddy less as a super-spy than as "Darren Dirkowitz, fifth-grader and all-around butt." As Becker's story unfolds, Darren teams up Travis and his crush, Opal Vega, to bring junk food back to the school vending machines and remove his "archenemy" stepbrother, Jason Arsenico (code name: Waldo), from the school presidency. The only problem: Jason is threatening to expose Darren's journal, making him "the laughingstock of Preston Middle School" unless Darren spies on Jason's "enemies" for him. Full of wisecracking jokes, shifting alliances, and betrayals, Becker's school-day caper offers a steady stream of surprises and laughs. Darren maintains a deadpan, noir-ish tone ("No one must know of my covert actions. Therefore, I use ultimate discretion and a steady hand to obtain my ink") even when, for instance, he's using his own urine as invisible ink. Ages 8–11. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/20/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4598-0685-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4598-0684-9
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