3.5 Stars Chase Danger, Super Spy: The Mystery of the Special Sauce Chase & Lisa Olivera Magic Fire 978-0-9836574-0-8 No. Pages: 32 Ages: 2 to 7
From Back Cover: Chase Danger is the world’s youngest super spy, ready to fight villains wherever they appear! In his first adventure he battles a giant octopus and terrifying scorpion, builds a super flying car, and takes a quick trip to space. All before dinner!
Chase Danger is a six-year-old super spy who really began his crime-fighting career at age two, when he rescued a friend’s pet canary from the villain Mr. Crocs, who vowed revenge. The story opens with Chase climbing a mountain, where he defeats a gang of thugs run by Igor Fimple. Fimple jumps off the mountain after giving Chase a cryptic message.
Often, we must suspend our beliefs to read and enjoy fiction and fantasy. Occasionally, the story expects us to suspend more than we are willing or can and still enjoy the story. Chase Danger is one of those occasions. Chase, at six, has the ability to build super machines overnight, single-handedly defeat a gang of six large muscled men, pilot flying saucers, destroy odd objects, save himself and others, and lie to his parents without guilt.
This is not because Chase has all these abilities: to build things super quickly; fancy super spy equipment hidden where he needs it, when he needs it, “just in case”; or that he has clueless parents. The problem is the story lacks balance. If I counted correctly, Chase accomplishes 23 major actions within the 26 pages of actual story. Leaving out the two pages of his conquests at age two, and there is nearly one major action scene per page of story. There is no balance or any time to take a breather. Chase Danger is scene after scene of action—action, action, action . . .
Both villains get away. Shouldn’t super spies defeat the villains too? Are these two villains, Igor Fimple and Mr. Crocs, working together? There needs to be less action and more story.
The illustrations draw out the hyper-spy story perfectly. The colors are bright and fill the page. Kids will love these. There is a feel of an action movie to the illustrations. Chase is a story with nothing but action and the illustrator did a great job capturing all of it. The illustrations will sell this book.
Chase is a one-boy wrecking crew. He is a super-spy for the younger set, defeating adult villains, yet the villains always escape. Perhaps to cause serial crimes? Young boys seven and under are the obvious audience who will like this book, and its hero, Chase Danger. They are young enough to see themselves as Chase, the super-spy. Older boys, older than age eight, may be reluctant to suspend their belief and accept a six-year-old as a super spy, even one like Chase, with all his super abilities.
Chase Danger, Super Spy: The Mystery of the Special Sauce also comes with a “Read-Along CD.” Chase Danger on CD is the exact story, word for word, as the book version. Listening to the story was leaps and bounds ahead of reading it. The special effects heard on the CD are superb. Fighting, bombs exploding, and lasers shots, are some of the effects kids will love.
The background music is loud, so keep the volume at a lower setting. The many performers did a good job. The best, with superb inflections, variations in tone, and well characterized is the villain Igor Fimple. He also has the longest speech when he tells everyone what he is trying to do. In Chase Danger, in any story, it is better to SHOW the reader, rather than simply TELLING us. That is basic creative writing 101
If your child likes action and lots of it, I suggest he listen to the CD and follow along. The interactive CD brings the story to life, and though it sounds like a cartoon (a wonderful sounding cartoon), the large amount of action is not as distracting and any holes in the story go unnoticed.
Boys, and some girls, will love the well-done, studio quality Read-Along CD. Don’t simply listen to the CD. Read the book too, else you will miss the wonderful illustrations in Chase Danger, Super Spy: The Mystery of the Special Sauce.
Authors: Chase & Lisa Olivera website coloring book Illustrator: Adam Goodman website Publisher: Magic Fire Music Facebook soundtrack ISBN: 978-0-9836574-0-8 Release Date: 2011 Number of Pages: 32 Ages: 2 to 7 .................