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“Mac,” said the Queen. “You must recover the Tower’s ravens. If you do not, my reign will end! Britain will be lost! We are counting on you!” –Top Secret Smackdown
Top Secret Smackdown
Mac B. Kid Spy #3
by Mac Barnett
AR Test, Good for Reluctant Readers
Ravens have been stolen from the Tower of London! Mac B.’s top-secret mission? Travel to Iceland and retrieve the ravens. . . or Britain is ruined!
In Iceland, Mac discovers secret submarines, hungry polar bears, mysterious blueprints, and his old archnemesis! Is the KGB man behind this birdnapping? Can Mac get the ravens to safety? It’s time for an epic, top-secret smackdown between these two secret agents!
The third installment of the Mac B. series continues the punny fun. Mac learns more about the United Kingdom’s history as well as the difference between dolphins and porpoises. Mac discovers how a simple story can become an important legend. The queen of England orders Mac to travel to Iceland and solve the mystery. Even though the majority of the story focuses on the mystery of the missing ravens, Mac’s difficulties with his mother’s boyfriend also plays a part in the story.
The queen’s outlandish behavior will make readers giggle. Readers will enjoy the conclusion because it ties all of the events together in a unique way. Top Secret Smackdown mixes humorous puns, a mysterious enemy, and wrestling to create a fun story that will entertain even the most reluctant readers. Short sentences and simple vocabulary will help readers build confidence. Large purple and orange illustrations appear on almost every page, which helps readers envision the story’s events.
Mac tells his own story with humor and puts a spotlight on the absurd. Younger readers will love the adventure, intrigue, and interesting characters. Although Top Secret Smackdown can be read as a stand-alone book, for maximum enjoyment the books should be read in order. Readers who enjoy silly, illustrated stories may also want to read Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Series by Julie Falatko.
- The story implies that Mac’s mother’s boyfriend stays the night when he thinks, “usually on Saturday mornings, my mom’s boyfriend, Craig, was camped out in front of the TV watching WrestleFest.”
- When Mac goes to Iceland, he looks for clues, and “someone hit me on the head with something very heavy and knocked me out.” When he woke up, Mac was tied to a chair.
- The president of Iceland is telling Mac a story. She acts out part of the story when “she punched me lightly on my arm. When I tried to block it, she punched me harder in the ribs.”
- The KGB man ties Mac to a chair. Mac breaks out of the ropes and pretends he is a wrestler on WrestlingFest. Mac “jumped onto the KGB Man’s back. He shook me off. . . I jumped on his back again. The KGB man stood up and threw me to the floor. He tore off his shirt.” During the scuffle, Mac throws a chair, accidentally sparked TNT, and “something exploded. The camera zapped. Its wires fried. The submarine was filling with water.”
- When Mac escapes the sinking submarine, “there was another blast. . .pieces of metal came flying and knocked my legs out from under me.” Mac falls into the river but is saved.
Drugs and Alcohol
- The KGB man calls a group of people “fools.”
- When Mac is afraid that he might drown, he thinks about Father Thames. “Some people say there is a river god named Father Thames who lives in the waters that run through London. They say he has lived there for a long, long time.” Mac thought he saw Father Thames, but then he realized it was a dolphin.