Graphic Novels

Spy Dad!

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All Olivia wants (apart from a hamster) is for her parents to be at home more. Dad is always on some mission or another unlike her friend Sophia's mummy who is at home every day. When Olivia confronts her parents, her dad decides to give up work. From that moment, adventure and danger seem to follow them everywhere...

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On the first page we meet Spy Dad who is tied to a chair and using his toes to open his Swiss Army knife whilst the bomb under his seat is ticking away ( 0:07 on the clock!). Like any good action movie, he escapes from the umbrella factory just in the nick of time, dangling from a helicopter as the bomb explodes beneath him. At this point, his phone rings- and it's his daughter! 

It can be hard for working parents to balance the demands of a busy job with family life and 'Spy Dad' takes a humorous look at one parent's attempt to reconcile this. 


The fabulous  illustrations which are packed with clues to Spy Dad's exciting secret existence as he and his daughter try to go about their new 'normal' life. There is a somewhat 'retro' feel to the artwork which is very appealing. Everyone will enjoy this story!

Spy Dad   by Jukka Laajarinne, illustrated by Timo Manttari

Pikku Publishing      ISBN: 978-9003488450


Illegal at the Bath Festival


Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the 'Stories That Matter' session at the Bath Children's Literature Festival with Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano. Their new graphic novel, 'Illegal', is a powerful and moving story about a young boy's journey across Africa to Europe.


The team spoke with great passion about the subject matter of the story and the fact that, although the book has been about three years in the making, things are not improving for those in these desperate situations. Andrew and Eoin spoke about how they wanted to choose an accessible character - an everyman- who people could relate to and how desperate people must be to decide to undertake such a dangerous and difficult journey. Although the session was very moving, there was a wonderful sense of camaraderie and lots of humour as they spoke.

Giovanni's illustrations are incredible and he spent part of the session sketching Ebo, the young lad whose story is being told.


'Illegal' is an extremely important, touching story - 'everything in the story happened to someone, somewhere'- which should be read by everyone. 

Illegalby Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Hodder Children's Books ISBN:  978-1444934007