My Best Friend Is a Secret Agent: How Chip Became C.H.I.P. and Foiled the Freaky Fuzzy Invasion

Wattpad. Sept. 2021. 164p. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781989365779.
Gr 3 Up–Sixth grade computer genius Nort McKrakken transforms his friend into a secret agent in an attempt to win his father’s approval and save his hometown of Vortville. Nort’s father, Colonel Brock McKrakken, is the head of McKrakken Security Systems and often saves the town from villains (occasionally destroying half of Vortville in the process). To assist his father’s business, Nort invents C.H.I.P., a tiny microchip that attaches to a tooth, sending signals to the wearer’s brain and controlling their actions. Nort tests the new device on his best friend, the ever-agreeable Chip. Chip, now wearing C.H.I.P., becomes famous throughout Vortville for his heroic behavior, to Nort’s jealousy. The duo, later accompanied by Nort’s younger sister Stella, are able to save Vortville from an evil genius and his army of mind-controlling stuffed animals. Problematic behavior abounds throughout, such as Nort’s blatant disregard for Chip’s safety. Similarly, Nort’s father, a poorly developed character reliant upon tropes and stereotypes, does nothing but ignore his son’s accomplishments and intelligence while attempting to bully him into a military career. Both Nort and his father are cued as white.
VERDICT The fast-paced nature of the story may appeal to some, but this first installment otherwise lacks substance and character development. Fans of spy thrillers and secret agents are better served by Mac Barnett’s, “Mac B., Kid Spy” series.

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