10th March '17
This was a very enjoyable book - nothing like we've really read before. It was nice to read something different.
On first impressions the children liked the look of the book - especially the sparkly, glitzy front cover. They found that very exciting.
Spy Toys is about three 'reject' toys who are from the Snazztacular Ultrafun Factory. When made they were rejected because of being faulty in some way. Meet Dan, Arabella and Flax. Dan is a larger than life teddy bear who was blessed with super strength - much to his disappointment, as he was made to be a Snuggaliffic Cuddlestar teddy bear, mass produced to be the best hugger in town and with the sole purpose of being a child's cuddly fun friend. Arabella is a not so friendly looking rag doll who was rejected for having anger management issues and Flax a robotic police rabbit on a mission to retrieve something that is rightfully his.
Dan and Arabella embark on a mission to leave the toy factory - Dan, to find children to cuddle and Arabella to win money. They don't get very far in this search though, as they get surrounded by an army of ten tall robots who scoop them up in a giant net before Flax races to the rescue and removes the battery packs from all ten robots - just in time as well - as they were not at all happy looking and Dan and Arabella had been tarred with the same brush as Flax - who had been on the run from the police bots ever since he left his job as a police rabbit.
Together the 3 toys were captured by three claws descended from an overhead helicopter and taken to ‘Auntie Roz’ who is the Head of the Department of Secret Affairs. The toys are then employed to work for them in order to protect the Primeministers son who is in danger of being kidnapped by a humanoid elephant called Rusty Flumptrunk who appears to be Flax's arch enemy. Before they begin their first assignment as secret agent SPY TOYS they undergo some harsh and gruelling training in the form of three toddler triplets who are also works of the Snazztacular factory and set out to ruin the toys. The toys have trouble meeting the requirements set out by Auntie Roz and feel themself swamped and overcome by the demands and behaviour of the triplets. Dan eventually secures the situation by taking a lampost and bending it using his super strength in a positive way - to keep the triplets at bay, after the first attempt to corner them fails when he fiercely pulls the back doors of a parked van which they were going to use to trap the triplets in. The toys at first don't feel too happy about the challenge because they doubt they are even able to rise to it and overcome their fears and weaknesses - Dan is unable to control his strength and Arabella her anger. Quickly they settle into the jobs and plod on, making the occasional mistake here and there. Eventually they rise to the occasion and manage to defeat the elephant and save Sam Spinks, the prime ministers son. At the end of the book there is an equally astounding exert from the next book in the series - Spy Toys: Out of Control, which follows the toys as they begin their next assignment. It can be read as a stand alone as it re-introduces the characters but also follows on the story and their adventures so would be perfect read as a sequel.
The children really enjoyed this book for the following reasons:
GO aged 6: I liked it because at first Dan thought he would never be able to control his strength but at the end he was able to control his strength.
H aged 7: I liked it because if there was mayonnaise splatting I would like it to go on me because I love mayonnaise.
IS aged 7: I really liked it when Rusty Flumptrunk kept being rude to Dan because it was really funny, Animals in stories are really funny.
KC aged 7: One of my favourite bits was when Arabella said ‘I hate children’ because I think it was really funny the way she said it.
KB aged 6: I liked the bit when Rusty Flumptrunk gave the rabbit back his pompom. It was funny when Arabella and Dan asked why he had a pompom and he said ‘ITS MY TAIL.’ I found that very very funny.
HW aged 6: I liked the front cover because it was very colourful and sparkly. I love blue and yellow too.
TD aged 6: I liked it because it included toys who ended up being heroes and I thought the toys would never actually make it to saving Sam so I was quite amazed when they actually did save Sam.
GS aged 6: I liked when Dan and Arabella thought the two bits of fur in the snowball were the rabbits ears but they weren’t and Rusty Flumptrunk burst out of them.
AD aged 7: The book was really funny because I liked how toys actually saved the day, that was the best bit and also I like Dan because I liked cuddling and strong stuff two and he was a mixture of this. I loved the front cover – it was sparkly and colourful. The story was just amazing and it was very funny – it made me laugh a lot. I also like the name Rusty Flumptrunk because he was made out of metal but real elephants aren’t. I just like the name because it’s funny. I like the way it sounds.
Overall we thought this story was GREAT! With most children saying: “It was the best book we’ve won so far” They loved that there was a game that you could download too and I myself downloaded it - it was quite addictive and looked just like the illustrations from the book. A great story about believing in yourself, conquering and overcoming barriers and weaknesses and finding your inner strength. A perfect book for raising issues for PSHE, such as self-belief and pride.