Secret Agent Man Goes Shopping for Shoes by Tim Wynne-Jones Book Review

Secret Agent Man Goes Shopping for Shoes by Tim Wynne-Jones
Illustrations by Brian Won
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: June 14, 2016

Secret Agent Man (aka S.A.M.) needs new shoes, which is how he finds himself on a dangerous mission to the shoe store. The problem with being a secret agent, particularly a young one, is that he looks a bit shifty and the mission's success hinges upon a pair of tiger-striped shoes that may grant him superpowers.

Although a bit jealous of S.A.M.'s tiger-striped shoes and crushing on the retro illustrations, I have to say that I wasn't blown away by this book. Although I certainly don't expect picture books to have strong plots, the story in this one was all over the place with only a tiny thread of cohesiveness holding it all together. I was confused by the dual identity of the character and his relationship with his mother. (aka K) Not to mention that the language and sloppy transitions. I understand it is about a little boy playing at being a secret agent while shopping, but even the character seemed to have a hard time keeping up with his own imaginative play. The illustrations are quite lovely, with a classic 1960s spy look, which paired with a lackluster story, made the book feel more like a showcase for Won's art.