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Kensy and Max - review

We all grew up wanting adventures we could have, whizzing around exotic places and solving puzzles and being brave and grown up when we were 10-12. It was Blyton and then Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Tin Tin etc...

Jacquie Harvey is one of Australia's top authors for 6-12 year olds and has been to the UK several times, we've been lucky to do 3 tours with her and can't wait till her next visit. 

Her form is impeccable, she is a perceptive and deceptively good writer, she has masses of clever ideas, great characters and her humour and style are brilliant. Children adore Clementine-Rose and Alice-Miranda and now she has doubled the pleasure...

Twins Kensy and Max are divine, they school in London but end up all over the place as they are training to be super spies, the parallel lives are superbly narrated and Jacquie has the knack of confusing the reader just enough with who is who and what their roles are, you can ponder and delve but really the best thing to do is just read and relax.

She has plenty of peril and handles all of the plot with panache, anyone wanting to push their 8+ into what to read next will find these are ideal, but, likewise there is plenty of extra detail for the discerning 10+ and as a transition from Y6 into Y7 these are ideal.

So, we have a rip-roaring Christmas adventure with enough tinselled sweaters to make  adverts redundant in December.
Kensy and Max are never quite sure who they can trust and do have to deal with pretty much everything thrown at them, they do have skills they are learning and I particularly liked the talking car scene. Calling her Esmerelda was a classy touch. We end up in Rome and as Romans do, we eat a lot, see a lot and at times, ahem! maybe like a lot... It's all handled beautifully and we learn as we go, we have a smattering of languages, plenty of cleverly put history and a delving in diabolical Nero and his Diavolo... The code we learn is superb and I would think kids will play with that and confuse their parents for ages, it's based on a very old system, The Pigpen Cipher, very clever.

Jacquie loves playing with names and making characters grow into their personas, there are plenty here and I am sure the series will develop some of them further.

The real fan is Hermione, Sally-Anne's daughter who devours good books, she is arguably the first child in the UK to have 2 signed Kensy and Max books and I can't wait to swap Disappearing Act for the one she is reading... Breaking News, that's the very first one, but it really is OK to read this one first, having little hints of backstory is a good thing, you wnat to go and find out what has happened, nothing is spoiled!