“ Author: Rob Scotton / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 26 April 2012 / Genre: Character Books / Subcategory: Picture Books / Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers / Title: Secret Agent Splat / ISBN 13: 9780007463381 / ISBN 10: 0007463381 „
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Splat is a cat who likes collecting toy ducks. One day though the ducks start to go missing but they are all returned the following day with their beaks missing. There's definitely a mystery to be solved and Splat has no option but to muster up his courage and turn into a secret agent in order to find out what is happening.
Splat the Cat has a collection of wooden ducks, made by his father, that he is very proud of. He keeps them in a display case in the garden shed and has named everyone of them. Therefore, you can imagine his dismay when one day he discovers that the red duck is missing. The following day he discovers that the blue duck is missing although the red one has been returned. He would have been happy about this apart from the fact that its beak is missing. The day after, the blue one's back (minus its beak) but the green one is no longer there. It's certainly a mystery and Splat is determined to get to the bottom of it with a little help from his friend, Seymour.
After quizzing his mum, sister and brother, Splat decides:
'' "It seems that no one has messed with my ducks.
Not anyone. Not anybody. Nobody," said Splat.
"I must find this Mr Nobody!" ''
He decides that he needs to be clever, cunning and quick in order to find Mr Nobody and to solve the mystery of the missing ducks. Therefore he has to become Secret Agent Splat complete with deerstalker and magnifying glass. Seymour provides him with a very useful spy kit which he then uses to set his trap. Will his cunning plan work and will he find out who is taking the ducks and why they are being returned without their beaks?
This is an entertaining book that is likely to appeal to children who like solving mysteries. There are lots of clues and therefore lots of opportunities for guesses from eagle-eyed little ones. It all adds to the enjoyment although we never managed to guess correctly when we read the story. There are also many fabulous illustrations which you need to look at very closely in order to try and work out the mystery. There is a great deal of humour in the pictures too especially all of Splat's astonished facial expressions.
The illustrations are nicely interspersed with the text which is easily accessible to emergent readers. The font changes size at times in order to add emphasis and more so when the words are bold and in capitals. These devices really help young readers with their expression and make it fun for adults to read too.
Rob Scotton has written a number of books featuring Splat the Cat, which is not surprising, as he is such a fun character. This did cause us a bit of a problem though as some characters did appear midway through the story with no introduction and we did not know who they were or their relationship to Splat. I guess we would have known had we read the other Splat books before. Although this was slightly annoying not to know, it meant that we had to use our detective skills to work out who they were!
Overall this is an enjoyable book that I feel sure will appeal to many small children.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk