Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink is the first in a new series by debut author of middle grade fiction, Jennifer Killick. Based on her first book, she is set to make a big impact and Alex Sparrow will become a firm favourite of readers everywhere.
Alex Sparrow is a wanna-be secret agent and he is always thinking about exciting missions to carry out. When the kids at Cherry Tree Primary School start behaving perfectly, Alex is determined to find out why. After clicking on an innocent looking pop-up advert on his computer he finds himself in possession of a rather stinky super-power.
He isn’t the only one with a superpower and he becomes sort-of-friends with the weird girl, Jess, who can communicate with animals. Together they must use their superpowers to to work out why all the kids at school are being so well-behaved and what really goes on in Miss. Smilie’s PALS suite…
Evil teachers, brilliant and bonkers children, and a goldfish called Bob who doubles up as a secret agent - this is a brilliant read. Alex and Jess get involved in all sorts of mysterious goings-on and mayhem in their search for the truth. With ‘The Professor’ to guide them and a pigeon who goes by the name Dexter, the children bring new meaning to the phrase that ‘no two school days are ever the same’. The action unfolds at a frantic pace as the duo find themselves sneaking into staff-only rooms at school, observing their classmates behaviour and getting themselves into close scrapes with teachers. Whatever the ‘mission’, Alex can be relied upon to have a rather elaborate and dangerous plan and Jess will bring the reality check and often more sensible and pragmatic approach. Killick’s writing is on point and she knows her target audience with references to Marvel, superheroes, Harry Potter and Lego - all things that I personally love.
Friendship is a big theme of the plot and Killick shows the reader the true meaning of being friends. Alex gravitates away from the boys who he used to hang out with just to be popular and to look cool and develops a great friendship with Jess who really couldn’t give two hoots what anyone thinks of her. The friendship between the two radiates off the page, particularly with how they wind each other up, poke fun at each other and are genuinely having a good time together, although neither would probably admit it!
Filled with mystery, mayhem and a whole lot of fun, this is a wacky and wonderful read from start to finish.
Recommended for 8+.