Today it’s my stop on the fantastic Spy Toys: Out of Control blog tour. Here’s your chance to win both Spy Toys, and Spy Toys: Out of Control, thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. I’ve written a short review of each book, to tell you why it’s worth winning.
A teddy bear whose hugs could crush a child. A doll with anger problems? A rogue security rabbit? Snaztactular Ultrafun make toys with a difference. Every toy is implanted with a robotic chip. When rejects Dan and Arabella escape with rogue security rabbit Flax, they are spotted by Aunty Roz at The Department of Secret Affairs.
The things which make them malfunction as toys make them epic spies.
Escaped robotic mascot Rusty Flumptrunk is bent on revenge. He plans to kidnap the prime minister’s son Sam. Dan and his friends are assigned to the case. They pose as Sam’s toys, and keep guard. Will they be able to remove the threat posed by Rusty Flumptrunk so Sam can lead a normal life?
The world is brilliantly imagined – Powers has really thought about what would be different in a world full of high tech. robots. The humour is well-pitched to both child and adult readers: important at this stage when children read aloud with their parents. The chapters are short, and there is plenty of action to reward newly confident readers.
I love how Dan and his friends must face up to their fears. Dan is certain he will crush any child he comes near. Initially, he is certain he won’t be able to resist hugs, and is afraid to bond with Sam. As the adventure progresses, Dan begins to wonder whether he has more control over his strength than he realises.
Sam’s Dad is too busy to play with him, and he wants Sam to toughen up. The idea about ‘tough’ boys is a great starting point for discussing gender stereotype. Sam demonstrates bravery during the adventure, and would be a great example of a character who shows his emotions despite being brave.
Spy Toys: Out of Control
The toys are back in town. Based at their new address, with several successful missions under their belts, the Spy Toys are faced with an unknown opponent. Someone has stolen information from Dr Potty’s computer. Dr Potty is a computer scientist at Snaztacular Ultrafun. His computer contains the codes for every Snaztacular Ultrafun toy. He’s the God of the robotic world.
Dan and Flax track down Jade Jigsaw – another rogue toy, with a grude against the toy company who made her a reject. Meanwhile, Arabella sets up base in Chloe Potty’s bedroom. It’s a dangerous place for toy. Chloe has a reputation for toy destruction, as John the unicorn’s crumpled horn can attest. Arabella’s task is to examine the computer … if she can get past fashion doll Gemma …
I love how we learn more about the wider world of robotic toys. The trio aren’t the only spy toys, nor are they the only toys to escape the Snaztacular factory. We see how rogue toys have handled their escape into the world differently, and how they cope with rejection by Snaztacular in different ways.
Snaztacular Ultrafun is a seriously CREEPY company. Not dangerous, off-the-bedtime-list creepy. Think Roald Dahl – young readers are blissfully unaware of how creepy Wonka is as he merrily teaches children lessons by pushing them into vats of chocolate and turning them into blueberries. Snaztacular have questionable ethics with regard to artificial intelligence. They are in it for money only. This kept me turning the pages, and I look forward to the third book. I am interested to learn more about this strange factory.
As in book one, the antagonists have wonderful backstory. Powers is great at world and character building, and I love how many possible fates he has thought of for robotic toys.
Here’s your chance to WIN and enjoy both Spy Toys and Spy Toys: Out of Control. To enter, tell me one toy you would like to see with a life of its own, and how this would make it more interesting.
- Giveaway open to UK and Ireland only
- Competition is open until Sunday 3rd September
- Decision of Louise at BookMurmuration is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
- Winner will need to email their address, or send it via direct mail on Twitter. Details will be given when a winner is chosen.
Best of luck!