Latter-Day Spies: Rescue – A Jungle Adventure by Michele Ashman Bell
Reviewed by Sian Ann Bessey
This month, the third book in Michele Ashman Bell’s Latter-day Spies series hits the bookstores. Much anticipated by Latter-day Spies fans, Rescue – A Jungle Adventure will not disappoint.
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The adventure begins in London, where twins Sadie and Seth, and their best friend Fami, have been sent to receive special spy training. They leave the academy with new skills and a bag full of high-tech gadgets and gizmos – which prove invaluable as they face the danger that lies before them.
Forced to take an unexpected trip to Brazil, the children struggle to differentiate between their allies and their enemies as they race into hiding. They make every move with vigilance and expeditiousness, but somehow their enemies remain just a few steps behind them.
At last they arrive at a remote village deep in the heart of the Brazilian jungle where they find that their faith, skills, and ingenuity are needed to save not only themselves, but also an entire village. As they devote their energies to helping the villagers, however, they quickly discover a remarkable blessing awaits them there.
Once again, Michele Bell has spun a story with engaging characters and a breakneck pace. Those who have followed Sadie, Seth, and Fami’s previous adventures will thoroughly enjoy becoming reacquainted. Those who have not read the earlier books will be delighted by the children’s vibrant personalities.
I particularly appreciate the example these characters set for young readers. Although rivalries and differences of opinion exist between them, the children are never mean-spirited. In fact, more often than not, Michele Bell helps her readers see humor in their situations and we are left with an assurance that despite minor irritations with one another, Sadie, Seth, and Fami are fiercely loyal to each other.
Bucking a rather disturbing trend in many mainstream novels for this age group, Bell also focuses on positive interaction between her main characters and their parents. The children draw strength from this mutual respect and affection, serving as a blueprint for the respect and admiration they later show for the indigenous people they meet in the Brazilian jungle.
As an aside to the main story, Michele Bell shares many unusual aspects of Brazilian culture in this book. Some traditions are fascinating; others are quite revolting. All will be enjoyed by young readers.