#172 – Chase Danger, Super Spy: The Mystery of the Special Sauce by Chase & Lisa Olivera

 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
 

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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!

Book

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.

Read-Along CD

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.

Chase Danger, Super Spy: 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
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15 thoughts on “#172 – Chase Danger, Super Spy: The Mystery of the Special Sauce by Chase & Lisa Olivera

  1. I hope it’s not too odd that it is great as an audible book, because it was conceived and produced as a “read along theater” production first and foremost. Reading it straight through would be the same as reading a movie script vs. watching the actual movie. 🙂 lol. Enjoyed the review and thank you, lots of good stuff! It was written in the spirit of James bond and many other action films, that we view as “all over the place” as well, highly truth stretched, but fun, where the more action, surprises, and set pieces the better – and where it’s expected that the villain explain his plan at the end, and that kids will be listening to it more than once, so they don’t have to understand everything the first time through. (they would need to enjoy it the first time, however 🙂 Anyway, no author is perfect, and hopefully our 2nd book doesn’t have some of the same flaws as the first, but I’m sure it will have new ones of its own. 🙂 I hope everyone enjoys #2, but be warned: the super spies build a hang glider from palm leaves, ride a great white shark, sky dive, swordfight pirates and much more that is actually impossible for 7 year olds to do. And it’s all done in the name of entertaining kids 4+.

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    • Renee, don’t apologize for reading my review and then commenting. I think you were led here, since you didn’t plan it (shame on you, not deliberately reading MY review. Two words: blog hop). 😉

      FYI: Eric did a great job, as usual.

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      • lol – The sad thing is that I DID come here to read your review. I received your email update and clicked through because I wanted to read the review (having just reviewed it ourselves recently). You and Erik both have Kid and Reviews in your blog title – one of you needs to change your blog name! 😉

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        • Thank won’t be a problem. Erik is ten, right. He will be open to changing his in eight years. “This Man Reviews Books” isn’t as catchy, but it does alleviate the “Kid” problem. 🙂

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              • “This Teen Reviews Books.” I like it, um, just not yet. Enjoy being “This Kid Reviews Books” a while longer. I’ll figure out a way to help Ms. C. tap the correct keys. lol

                Your identity is blown already, so you could simply be “Erik Reviews Books, but not his own.” lol

                You’re a good sport Erik, and I love your sense of humor! I’d heart your sense of humor, but have no idea how to do that.

                Ms. C., thanks for the vote. I’ll return it some day. haha

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  2. This is a great review Erik. Even my son (who is in the target audience) thought the same thing with regards to suspending disbelief. But, he enjoyed it probably mostly because of the illustrations. It was fun to read your thoughts!

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    • Renee,
      Even though I am not Eric, I appreciate the comment. What I did not know, when I wrote this review, is that the authors are mother and son, with the son being Chase, age six. If he came up with the majority of the story, it explains why it’s all over the place.

      Still, a good editor would have made this work. Oddly, the story is great as an audible book. Sounds like a typical Saturday morning cartoon. And yes, the illustrations are fantastic!

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