My favourite animal protection agent is back and this time she is heading to Antarctica.
Agnes Gamble loves protecting the world’s flora and fauna just like her parents had done previously. So when SPEARS receive a distress call from their underwater outpost in Antarctica they know just the two agents that are needed to go and aid and investigate. Agnes and Attie (Attenborough) the shrew are the perfect agents to send to icy Antarctica on a mission to investigate some very strange goings-on. Equipped with trinoculars, an otter sled and telescopic giraffe stilts the duo hop aboard the omnifrog and set off to a land of snow, icebergs and a lot of penguins.
But everything is not as it seems at Outpost Twenty-Two and Agnes and Attie are going to have to uncover all manner of mysteries if they are to save the wildlife and the outpost. The duo soon find themselves deep in an intense, icy investigation as they seek to discover what is causing massive tremors, why the penguins are acting so strangely and if TV personality Cynthia Steelsharp really who everyone thinks she is…
Operation Icebeak is a delightful and thrilling adventure story with plenty of danger and peril. It is full of humour, heart and includes messages on conservation. I enjoyed so much about this book. There are awesome gadgets and technology based on the science of the natural world, hidden identities, wonderful ocean creatures and even a shrew-napping (this is what happens when a shrew gets kidnapped). There are so many wonderful messages about conservation and animal protection that are included and relevant. Readers are subtly educated throughout the story as information and facts are cleverly woven into the narrative. You get to learn all about some of the creatures that live in Antarctica, environmental problems - global warming and pollution - and some of the dangers of such an unforgiving environment. Agnes is such a great lead character. She is a strong-minded and adventurous girl who is a great role-model and a character that young readers will love.
Alice Lickens provides the superb artwork in shades of blue - love that it is in keeping with the whole icy and cool environment - that adds plenty of enjoyment to the story and features on almost every double page. At the end of the book there are mission case files, notes from SPEARS Chief Commander Phil about why the fragile Antarctic ecosystem is under threat and needs protecting, information on specific endangered species and tips for what kids can do to help protect the environment.
A fast-paced and fun adventure story that young wildlife enthusiasts will really enjoy and it is perfect for readers that are new to reading chapter books. And the great news is that Agnes and the SPEARS team will be off on a new mission later this year in Agents of the Wild: Operation Sandwhiskers, which I imagine is set in slightly warmer climes. I for one, cannot wait.
Recommended for 6+.