Michael Broad’s is a relatively new name in children’s fiction. But the man already has an impressive record under his belt. Consider this. The illustrator who also writes has finished 13 “young fiction” books and five picture books between 2006 and 2008. In between, he also found the time to illustrate 14 books written by other authors.
Hypno Hounds features three stories—the Hypno Hounds!, the Sneaky Scientist and the Terrible Teddies—about Agent Amelia, the self-styled secret agent. Amelia Kidd is the ultimate do-gooder who has saved the world on many an occasion.
The first story is about a crazy woman who wants to take over a village and, later, the world. Her weapon? Dogs. Every night the villagers hear blood-curdling howls. The only traces they find the next morning are huge paw prints that terrify them. Slowly, the village empties out as the villagers all leave—all except Mrs Bloom, with whom Amelia and her mother are spending a week on holiday. Amelia immediately goes into action to try and get to the bottom of the mystery.
The Case of the Sneaky Scientist is set in Amelia’s school, where something is terribly wrong with the “practical science” teacher, Mr Gumble.
In the third story, The Case of the Terrible Teddies, Amelia has to find out why a consignment of teddy bears in the supermarket has disappeared despite closed-circuit television. And, more importantly, who is stealing the wallets and purses of customers?
Agent Amelia’s escapades make for good, pure fun. The other books in the series are Ghost Diamond, Zombie Cows and Spooky Ballet. The illustrations are just about perfect for the age group it has been written for.
Agent Amelia also went in for a change of media—from books to audio—last year. Ghost Diamond is now available as an audio book with three unabridged case files read out by British actor Lucy Scott (who played Charlotte Lucas in the 1995 BBC television serial Pride and Prejudice).
Broad was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2007 and Nottingham Children’s Book Award 2008 (both for Jake Cake and the Werewolf Teacher).
The writer is the editor of Heek, a children’s magazine.
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