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“And that is how it happens. One minute you are sitting in class, hoping a teacher wearing a referee shirt rings a bell so you can put a sticker up on a bulletin board. The next minute you are on a plane to London, on a mission for the Queen of England. The life of a spy is strange, but the life of a kid is also strange,” Mac. –The Sound of Danger
The Sound of Danger
Mac B Kid Spy #5
by Mac Barnett
AR Test, Good for Reluctant Readers
Mac heads to England on a special mission for the Queen of England. Someone has been stealing the famous Stradivarius violins. In order to discover the culprit, Mac will have to go into a deserted museum in the middle of the night where he meets a mummy. With the Queen’s corgi, Freddie, Mac also travels to Italy where he scales the walls of the Tower of Cremona. A guard imprisons Mac so the President of Italy can question him.
After escaping Italy, Mac travels to Russia where he faces a dangerous showdown with the Russian Red Army Choir. In the end, Mac is able to return the violins to their rightful owners. However, the KGB man tries to get even with the Queen of England by playing the Tetris song. Unbeknownst to him, Mac had changed the boom box’s tape and the KGB man blasts a New Kids on the Block song instead. (Once you read the book, you will understand the ending’s humor.)
Whether you have read all of the books in the Mac B Kid Spy Series or are a first-time reader, The Sound of Danger is sure to tickle your silly bone. When Mac goes on another mission for the Queen of England, the interplay between Mac and the Queen is laugh-out-loud funny. While the villain—the KGB man—is the same in all of the books, readers will still have fun guessing when the KGB man will show up and try to thwart Max.
The Sound of Danger is humorous, and it is also packed full of history. For example, the Queen of England says, “The Cold War is called a cold war because it was not fought with bullets. . . It is about which side has better spies. Which side has better stories. Which side has better ideas.” The story also teaches readers about the different parts of an orchestra, the Stradivarius, the Tetris game, and the ’80s. Some of the facts seem far-fetched, which Mac acknowledges when he writes, “It’s true. You can look it up.” Readers can trust Mac’s facts because they are true — but it’s still fun to look them up.
The Sound of Danger uses short chapters, easy vocabulary, and interesting characters to appeal to even the most reluctant readers. Every page has large illustrations that have pops of turquoise and yellow. Many of the illustrations are funny, especially the ones with the Queen of England and her “not amused” facial expressions. The illustrations also show different musical instruments, geographical locations, and historical people.
The Sound of Danger uses a humorous story and interesting characters to teach about history. Both the text and the illustrations work together to create humor and explain the historical facts. Even though The Sound of Danger is a really quick read, all of the mystery’s threads are explained. Readers looking for more humorous mystery books will also enjoy the Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Series by Julie Falatko.
- The Queen of England tells Mac about Marie Antoinette. “But in 1789 things in France began to go wild. There was a revolution! And in 1793 they cut off the queen’s head.”
- A Russian soldier tries to capture Mac. “He swung a balalaika at my head—at my head!—but I ducked. The instrument made an awful song as it shattered against a stone pillar. Freddie (the Queen’s corgi) hopped out of the front of my shirt. He tugged at the man’s pant cuff with his teeth, which gave me the chance to escape.”
- Mac gets thrown into a USSR prison.
Drugs and Alcohol
- The Queen of England says poppycock, balderdash, and rubbish.