The Race by Susannah McFarlane
Ill. by Dyani Stagg. E J Spy School series. Scholastic
Australia, 2014. ISBN 9781921931536.
(Age: 5-7) The EJ 12 series has been popular with girls seeking a heroine in the centre of the action, especially with her spy gadgets and international adventures. The new series E J Spy School is an off shoot of this series, much like the Zac Power: Spy Camp has the Zac Power: Test Drive series to complement it.
Designed to appeal to the 5-7 year olds E J Spy school introduces a young Emma Jacks during her training days. As EJ10 she is learning to be a spy, enjoying the thrill of arriving at SHINE, the spy agency, via the last cubicle in the girl's toilet and bursting to share with her friends but keeping her activities secret.
The Race has EJ proving her fitness and bravery as she completes the obstacle training course in a race against the clock. We share her anxiety on the rope bridge and her confidence on the plank as she recognises she has completed the same activity at gym. Her dilemma as time runs short is whether she can rescue a duckling and still finish the course in the allotted time.
The easy to read text interspersed with drawings which focus generally on showing EJ's emotions or effort, make the book another in the growing list of chapter books suitable for young independent readers.