Spy Kids En Pointe! Boy in a Tutu (Spies in Disguise) by Kate Scott
If I could go back in time and tell my old self that he was going to leave his home, his school, and go on the run from enemy spies--and have to go undercover AS A GIRL--he would have laughed.
But I am not laughing. Sam is, though. Loudly. "I can't wait to see you in a tutu." She dissolves in giggles.
We're up in my room with the file Mom and Dad gave us to go over, but Sam seems more interested in my new disguise.
I ignore her. I want to be a proper spy, and doing well in this job is the first step to making sure that happens.
Joe's parents are professional spies, now in a sort of witness protection system which requires deep cover. Mom and Dad are used to this sort of thing, Disguise is their specialty. But for Joe, this is an enormous change!
"I've had to go undercover--as a girl.
To throw the enemy agents off, Joe has to portray a convincing ten-year-old blonde girl named Josie, complete with sparkly bunny hair clips. Only his best friend Samantha, a.k.a., Sam, knows his real identity, and she comes in handy when he needs some lessons in faking a girly-girl. As his BFF, Sam provides perfect cover.
But according to headquarters the counterspy agents are getting too close for comfort, and Josie's parents come up with a double mission for Josie and Sam: Josie will take an intensive ballet class at the local community center to establish his identity as a girl, and the two kids will also be charged with helping foil a rumored planned heist of the Soccer Memorabilia exhibit scheduled at the same time as their dance recital. Josie and Sam are given training and lots of cool spy gear--self-stick eyeball cameras, tamper testers, tracking devices, and a laser mapping wand. Using the ballet class as a entree to the building, they soon have the whole building bugged and are beginning to gather information about the employees.
But Josie and Sam settle on different suspects. Josie is sure the swim team director is the true soccer thief, because he hangs around the soccer display a lot and because he tries to recruit Josie and other kids to swim in his swimming match as an excuse to case the Soccer exhibit. Sam becomes convinced that their ballet teacher is the real crook, setting up a loud and raucous finale to their recital to cover the robbery.
Sometimes it feels like Sam's better at everything than I am.
Sometimes that's a bit annoying.
But as they continue to spy on their respective suspects, Sam and Josie discover that they are both right--there are dual bad guys at work in this caper. And together they come up with a masterfully clever switch for the swim meet which foils the counterspy coach's plot to, er, reveal Josie's real identity and endanger him and his parents.
There's plenty of suspenseful spy kids sleuthing, spy talk, and clandestine gizmos in Kate Scott's clever Spies in Disguise: Boy in a Tutu (Scholastic Press, 2016), now available in a new American paperback edition tailor-made for the middle reader trade. Joe's uneasy role playing a girly-girl with pink kitten hair clips and a sparkly tutu adds some light-hearted humor to the spy-story genre, with just the right hint of real danger to heighten the action.
Other books in this series are Spies in Disguise: Boy in Tights and Spies in Disguise: Boys in Heels.