CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 11. . . .November 14, 2014
Boot Camp. (Zac Power).
H. I. Larry. Illustrated by Andy Hook.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2014.
90 pp., pbk., $5.99.
Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.
Review by Lisa Case.
For the eyes of Zac Power Only
Message initiated 2:28 p.m.
Congratulations on topping your local spy ladder for 15 weeks in a row. You will now train in GIB Boot Camp against the best GIB spies in the world.
Beware: things at Boot Camp are not always what they seem.
Zac Power is off to Boot Camp, the next exciting book in the “Zac Power” series. Zac Power is an ordinary boy with one exception – he is a spy! Zac and his brother Leon are both members of an elite agency known as the Government Investigation Bureau (GIB). Zac is a top spy, and Leon is a technical officer.
Zac thinks Boot Camp will be a nice change from going on missions. How hard can it be? The goal is to complete a series of challenges faster than his opponent. When Zac is matched up against Agent 24, he finds that this is a tougher challenge then he thought. Agent 24 is tough and fast, and Zac really has to be on his toes in order to win the challenges. It takes a lot of physical strength, mental strategies, and math skills to get through the course. Things are complicated when Commander X is kidnapped. Zac’s goal – prove that he is GIB’s Top Agent, save Commander X – and still make it back in time for his math test!
Zac Power missions are full of adventure and espionage, and the books are very enjoyable. These adventures are each written by different authors, but the authors all use ‘H.I. Larry’ as a pseudonym. These books can be enjoyed by many age groups. The short chapters make this book ideal for children just beginning to read chapter books, but they are also books that some older students will enjoy. Children who like spy stories will truly love Zac Power adventures. Detailed illustrations also help expand the book's plot, and this makes it a great option for children that struggle with reading.
The drawings are very detailed and captivating. The visuals are labelled so that the reader gets a real sense of the gadgets that are used to complete the missions. Detailed images in this volume include: GIB Last Resort Memory Magnets, a map of the GIB Boot Camp facility, SU-R-RAT (High Speed Self-Guided Tunnel Transport) and the Electrified Holographic Attacker. The books are each formatted with print that is easy to read and nicely spaced. Consequently, the volume is not overwhelming for children who are either beginning to read or for those that may struggle. The chapters are short, anywhere from 8-12 pages. The illustrations are very engaging and tie directly into the story, making it easy for the reader to become fully immersed in the world of Zac Power.
The Zac Power series is a great addition to all school libraries as well as a good addition to home collections. This is the third Zac adventure that I have read, and I still find the stories entertaining. I definitely recommend these books.
Lisa Case is an elementary/junior high school teacher-librarian from Calgary, AB.
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