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Mac Undercover

(Mac B., Kid Spy #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  666 ratings  ·  150 reviews
A thrilling, hilarious fully-illustrated spy adventure series, from the esteemed New York Times bestselling and multi-award-winning author Mac Barnett!
A New York Times bestseller

An Amazon Best Book of 2018

Before Mac Barnett was an author, he was a kid.
And while he was a kid, he was a spy.
Not just any spy.
But a spy...for the Queen of England.

James Bond meets Diary of a
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Orchard Books
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  666 ratings  ·  150 reviews

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Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
The most excellent book about espionage, the Queen's penchant for corgis (except one specific corgi), the tragic history of jeans in the former USSR and the KGB's current tactics. It's a globetrotting adventure full of questions and not many answers. The genius of Mac Barnett will literally never disappoint.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was super-fun and silly and will sneakily teach kids history while making them laugh.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Utterly ridiculous in all the best ways.
Karen Parisot
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an appealing book for seven to ten year olds that will have them laughing out loud while they learn a thing or two! The author has written himself as the main character and narrator and tells quite the tall tale. Lots of humor and comical illustrations make this a very entertaining story. It’s chock full of fun facts that cover a range of subjects from history and geography to word origins and their meanings. I thought the entire book was very well done and I know young readers will be ...more
Ryn Lewis
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Mac Barnett is not just your average student. He is also a spy and secret agent. So when the Queen of England calls to tell him the Crown Jewels are missing, Mac packs his bag and heads to England. From England to France and all around the world, Mac will search for clues, find secrets and vie with the KGB for control of the world's most valuable treasures.

Designed for the 7-10 year old range and heavily illustrated, this book should be an easy win for most kids. Spies are a hot topic for that
Young Mac B. has exactly the kind of refreshing convincing voice you would expect from a young Mac Barnett. He comes to life as a secret agent, when the Queen of England calls him to perform a scary mission. He must retrieve the "Crown Jewels." He responds,"But tomorrow is a school day," and when she persists he worries, "but my mom will be worried about me." The same thoughts most together kids would consider. This is a clever spy mystery, full of bold colorful cartoon like illustrations ...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
This book is great! I started reading it with my son but he finished it without me. (He really likes it!) I had to know what happened. Mac (based on the author) gets a call from the Queen of England who asks him to help her find out who stole the Crown Jewels. (We are repeatedly told that this did in fact happen, wink wink.) Anyway, she writes a note to his school
and another for his mom and off Mac flies to England for a mysterious adventure. Great illustrations (all black, white, blue, and
Brindi Michele
Jan 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
I gave this a one-star rating ONLY because it had a corgi. If not, I would have abandoned it. Oh my gosh, I think I lost brain cells reading this. It was even hard to force myself to skim half-way through instead of putting it down!!!

Ughhhhhh. It had potential. It really did, but fell flat on its face because it was so far-fetched in a horribly, unbelievable way. It felt redundant, lacking substance, and all characters involved seemed like complete idiots (except the corgi, obviously). I.e.,
Destinee Sutton
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is quirky and super funny. I actually laughed out loud a few times. The first-person narration of a young Mac supposedly going up against the KGB to retrieve the Queen of England's coronation spoon is as silly as one would expect. The ending was the tiniest bit anticlimactic -- especially for kids who probably have no awareness of the power of blue jeans. Nevertheless, it's an auspicious beginning to what I hope will be a popular series.

My 5-year-old daughter is currently in love with
Uhm, I am just not sure what I thought about this book. On the one hand I liked it, spies, gameboys, travelling the world, corgis, but on the other hand it was just weird and I got a bit tired off the constant reminding that this was taking place at x and y time or that this was a real story etc. etc. We get it. Mac was a pretty interesting character though, and I liked that he apparently didn't question much just went for the spy life as if it was the thing he was doing all the time (even if ...more
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I wasn't sure Ruby would be ready for a read aloud like this, but it held her attention to the very end! She loved the humor and the spy business. This was a fun kid James Bond 1980s spy story. I even learned some stuff I didn't know. Ruby was excited to hear there is a book 2 and wants to read more! After trying several chapter book read alouds in a row with no success, I'm happy I found one she loved.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-mg

Cute and funny, really like the style of the illustrations, plus corgis!!!

I was bother by some stereotyping, but t was technically addressed in the book .

lancelot william bream ross
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bruh, fh
It a very good book when I was at school I got the impossible crime one it was funny and how do you read these books?
Tamera Davis
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read it to my son. Cute story.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A kid spy for the British crown doesn't have to be serious all the time, you know. Mac B. offers intrigue and mystery, but with side-splitting laughs that readers won't be able to get enough of!
Sarah Johnson
Very funny for all kids. Great illustrations that will help kids who are mostly interested in graphic novels stay interested. A good recommendation for reluctant readers.
Mel Raschke
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Funny and entertaining.
Gabrielle Sedor
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finally, a book that doesn't bore us both to tears. Indubitibly!
Kaytee Cobb
This one is such fun. Reading the second one aloud now. Mac B is funny and smart and the kids are totally finding ways to bring the random history tidbits they learned from this book into real life. And they loved it, and the drawings were simple but fun. How come Wimpy Kid isn't more like this? I'd be willing to read those.
Jane Maple
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Danielle Norris
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I will start by saying I am a huge Mac Barnett fan! I received this ARC at Txla this spring and placed it in my Summer TBR pile and today was the day I read it. I was not disappointed. It has all the hallmarks of a great Mac B read. It is quirky and filled with sly and offbeat humor (my favorite kind)

The premise of the book is that Mac B the author was, as a child Mac B the kid spy. He spied for Queen Elizabeth... I could stop there and i am sure you would want to read this! I swear that Barnett
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 7pla, fiction, young-adult
this was a fantastic book it related to my life a lot i thought that the book was totally for me i think that you should really read
Ms. Yingling
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

In this notebook novel, author Barnett explains to his readers what he did before he became a children's author. Because Mac is one of the better kids in his class, he gets a phone call from the Queen of England asking him to drop everything, come to England, and solve a mystery for her. She'll even write him a note for his parents and school. He visits the queen, and she tells him that a very important spoon with a lot of history was stolen from her, probably by the
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I struggled with the genre of these books. It is fantasy light, or maybe strange James Bond fairytale light, mixed with an awful lot of engaging illustrations, not technically a graphic novel but more graphic than most middle grade novels. This is a book for kiddos that aren't all that into reading and need a wildly, wacky adventure and a lot of illustrations to get pulled along through a longer text. (It's a very nice alternative to a pure graphic novel if you aren't a huge fan of those!)

Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: total-favorites
Have some zany “007” fun with “Mac B., Kid Spy.” Anything author Mac Barnett writes wows me from the get-go, but he scores five “Goldfingers” with this clever tale of espionage, illustrated by Mike Lowery.
At the onset, Barnett reveals his reason for writing the series. As a college student he was a camp counselor and would tell stories based on his experiences growing up in the 80’s — carrying out missions decreed by the Queen of England. Using this hook he kicks off his book.
Immersed in karate
For anyone of my generation who saw either of the Cody Banks (esp. the Sequel in London) one, this book is very similar, in terms of humor and action.
Mac is a young boy turned spy for the Queen of England, taking him suddenly across the Pacific (from California), to England, and to France, and Russia accompanied by a corgi named Freddy.
There are a lot of cool historical facts and informational tidbits about each country.
There are some good laughs in here for the kids as much as the adults....
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, arcs
I received a free advance reading copy of this book through a contest from the publisher. In exchange, I will provide my honest review.
Mac Barnett is one of my favorite picture book authors (Extra Yarn, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole) so when I found out we was writing a chapter book for ages 7-10, I was fascinated and knew I wanted to get a peak at it.
I loved this "true story" from 1989 when Mac was a spy for Queen Elizabeth. The humor is excellent with moments of verbal humor such as anytime Mac is
Alba Arango
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay, this book is a little younger than I normally review as it is a chapter book, but its premise was so cute I just had to read it (and I’m so very glad I did!).

Mac B is an author, but before that he was a kid, and when he was a kid, he was a spy. Mac B is just an average kid from California who gets a call from the Queen of England who asks him to do a favor--retrieve the crown jewels that were stolen. Mac B is not sure why the Queen picks him, but he agrees, and then a plane ticket shows
Paul  Hankins
Fans of Mac Barnett's quirky sense of rapid-fire wit coupled with well-timed asides will love this new book that promises series. And these are the adult readers who come into contact with the book (like me). Aimed at the grades two to five set, the book is poised to be a quick, comic read. . .but wait. . .embedded within all of the fun is a sense of culture blended with rich vocabulary and allusion that is both subtle and purposeful at the same time.

The series seems to stem from the
Stephanie Bange
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Note: Reviewed from an ARC

Mac Barnett’s new series is a riot!

In his introduction, he explains that when worked as a summer sports camp counselor while in college, he used to tell “adventure stories, ripped form my own life”, when he was a kid. Set in 1989, each revolves around a phone call from the Queen of England, who needs a favor that only Mac B. can do. In this case, it is to retrieve the stolen Crown Jewels from the villain who had stolen them.

This spy/wild good chase of a story contains
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Born to non-farmers in a California farming community, Mac Barnett now lives near San Francisco. He's on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center for students in Los Angeles, and he founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers.

Other books in the series

Mac B., Kid Spy (4 books)
  • The Impossible Crime (Mac B., Kid Spy #2)
  • Top Secret Smackdown (Mac B., Kid Spy #3)
  • Mac Cracks the Code (Mac B., Kid Spy #4)