This delightful and beautifully presented book, the first in a series, adroitly combines entertainment and education.It features the indomitable Agents Of The Wild who represent the Society for the Protection of Endangered and Awesomely Rare Species, aka SPEARS. Their aim is to recruit Agnes Gamble into their ranks. Agnes is an orphan who lives in an unpalatable high-rise block with her Uncle Douglas after the deaths of her world-famous botanist parents. The SPEARS agents are all animals with the power of speech and gloriously eccentric apparel and behaviours, dedicated to preserving endangered species.
Agnes successfully passes her unusual recruitment tests and sets off to the Atlantic Forest with field agent Attie (an elephant shrew dressed in jungle fatigues) on her first mission-the rescue of a rare bee which has become separated from its colony and is being sought by the unscrupulous Axel Jabheart for his illegal collection. Needless to say, the bee-Elton, the choreographer of the colony with a predictable penchant for outrageous glasses and disco dancing-is successfully rescued and the evil Jabheart is thwarted.
The story is vividly realised, with close attention paid to the smallest detail and brought colourfully to life by the enchanting illustrations. The cover is colourfully embossed, providing a tactile and tempting experience. There is a Top Secret SPEARS file at the back of the book, which describes animals at risk in the Atlantic Forest and invites readers to help in saving them through a variety of activities which are clearly described. This book would work equally well at home or in school – an absolute winner.