The Hardy Boys, Undercover Brothers #16: Shhhhhhh! (Graphic Novel), by Scott Lobdell

The Hardy Boys, Undercover Brothers #16: Shhhhhhh! (Graphic Novel). By Scott Lobdell. Illustrated by Paulo Henrique. Papercutz, 2009.  96 pages. $7.95

Plot: An important British Ambassador is coming to Washington, D.C. for an important, and sensitive, treaty negotiation, and ATAC (American Teens Against Crime) undercover agents Joe and Frank Hardy are assigned to be bodyguards of the Ambassador’s three young children.  Armed with two books that contain special defensive powers, the boys head with the children to take a tour of the National Library of Education.  But this trip to the library proves more dangerous than most.  When several bad guys – all muscular and bald – try to get to the ambassador’s children, Frank, Joe, and their librarian tour guide must think fast to keep the children safe.  Will all three make it out of the library alive?  Will Frank and Joe’s undercover status be blown by a surprise visitor to the library?  You’ve never seen so many PLAK!s, SWASH!s and WHUMPS!s inside a library before!

Review: An interesting version of the classic Hardy Boys books, “based on the series by Franklin W. Dixon,” done modern, graphic novel-style.  A simple story line, your basic good guys versus bad guys concept, comes to life with full-color illustrations.  This series is might appeal to tweens who love both the Hardy Boys novels and graphic novels, or those who typically read one or the other.  The plot lacked creativity, but was fast-paced and exciting.  And, of course, I liked the fact that it took place in a library (couldn’t help adding a pic of the back cover as well as the front!).  Just as in other graphic novels, the images of men and women are not at all true to life.  Most of the images of men are overly muscular and most of the women have Barbie-esque bodies with tiny waists and lots of curves, and all the adults seem to wear tight fitting clothing, in, as mentioned above, truly graphic novel style.  Not completely anti-feminist, as the librarian, Elsa, is brave and stands up to save the kids, but the images of women are not exactly diverse as far as body-type goes.  Interestingly, there is quite a bit of ethnic diversity within the supporting characters and crowd scenes.

Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Adventure, Mystery

Reading/Interest Level: 8-12 years

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

ISBN: 978-1597071383

Similar books: Others in the series, Nancy Drew Graphic Novel Series

Subjects: crime, undercover agents, detectives

Series Information: The Hardy Boys, Undercover Brothers is #16 in a 20-volume graphic novel series by Papercutz, there are also novels, comic books, and a new graphic novel series called “The New Case Files”

Character Names

Joe Hardy: main character, brother of Frank, undercover agent in ATAC, hired to be a bodyguard for a the children of a British diplomat in Washington, D.C. for an important meeting

Frank Hardy: main character, brother of Joe undercover agent in ATAC, hired to be a bodyguard for a the children of a British diplomat in Washington, D.C. for an important meeting

Max, Greta, Vilma: the children of Ambassador Sir Arthur Moorelander, potentially in danger from international forces who want to hurt their father

Elsa Brandt: librarian and tour guide at the National Library of Education, helps keep the children safe during their tour

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