The Secret of Rover

RedReviewStarGr 5—8—Katie and David's mom and dad are no ordinary parents. Along with Mrs. Bowden's reclusive brother, Alex, they are the designers of Rover, a top-secret spying device recently purchased by the U.S. government. The sale of Rover brings the family a financial windfall, so they are finally able to afford the third child they have always wanted. The kids are thrilled when their parents decide to adopt a baby from the war-torn nation of Katkajan, which is clearly meant to resemble a Middle Eastern country. The night before leaving to pick up Theo, the Bowdens introduce a Katkajanian nanny who will care for Katie and David while their parents are away. Unfortunately, Trixie is not a nanny, but a member of a gang of insurgents. Her counterparts kidnap the Bowdens and Theo as soon as they arrive, and David and Katie become prisoners in their own home. A daring escape leads them to their reclusive uncle in the mountains of Vermont. A breathtaking game of cat and mouse follows as the kidnappers pursue them relentlessly, and they fight to save their parents and sister. David and Katie's relationship is realistically and amusingly portrayed in all its sibling rivalry and friendship. Their smarts and moxie are tempered with just enough rash impulsiveness to make them believable. Fans of Roland Smith's "I.Q" series (Sleeping Bear) will love this fun, intelligent, political page-turner.—Mandy Lawrence, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX
Twelve-year-old twins Katie and David are left with a sinister nanny, Trixie, while their parents travel to bring home their adopted sibling. After Mom and Dad are kidnapped, the kids must first thwart Trixie then voyage cross-country to find their estranged uncle and save their family. Wildavsky well-plotted, tautly paced spy adventure includes some unexpected twists and turns.

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