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SPY GEAR ADVENTURES

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Full Name: Jake & Lucus Bixby, Cyril Wong, Lexi Lopez
Nationality: American
Organization: Team Spy Gear
Occupation Other - Schoolkids

Creator: Rick Barba
Time Span: 2006 - 2007

ABOUT THE SERIES

Jake, Lucus, Cyril, and Lexi are agents with Team Spy Gear.

Okay, I try to start all my entries that way even when it is only close to the truth.

First, there is no organization named 'Team Spy Gear'; these four kids are Team Spy Gear (TSR). They created the group and named it themselves and everything.

Let's meet the founding - and only - members:

Jake Bixby - 13 - average-size, average-looking with brown hair and brown eyes. The narrator says that if you look closer, you would see there was "something oddly special" about him - like there was an aura around him. Of course no one else ever saw it but the narrator just wanted to point it out so ... Anyways, one interesting point is that Jake never smiles - he grins. Seems an important point to the narrator.
Lucas Bixby - 11 - the younger of the two brothers, a skinny, black-haired kid with huge green eyes. The first thing the narrator tells about him is that he "does everything with gusto." He moves way too fast. He spills his milk daily. When he chews gum, it sounds like slime creatures attacking from everywhere. You know the type".
Cyril Wong - 13 - Jake's best friend, he is "tall, goofy, smart, gawky" with the "worst-looking hair of anyone west of the Dardanelles" and the narrator said that if you were a mean kid, you would call him a "mop-head".
Lexi Lopez - 11 - Lucas's best friend, she takes athletics to a higher level (literally since when we first meet her, she has just climbed a drainpipe into Lucas's room only to then slide down the banister). She takes ballet and gymnastics and it seems anything else that involved moving and doing stuff.

So, now that we've met them, let's go over why they are TSG. It all happened after a game Jake was in and the others came to watch at the Soccer Complex. They happened to mention the spooky set of woods that touched the area and how it got so scary and what might be in it that was so bad and it was really a bad idea to go it and check it out. So, of course, they decide to do it (except Cyril - he goes as well but he doesn't want to).

And that is when they find the building, a windowless, bunkerlike structure surrounded by a tall security fence with spirals of barbed wire strung across the top. It had a thick metal door sealed shut. It looked ominous and they would have run away from it but a sign on the door said it belonged to Stoneship Toys and was its Midwest Warehouse.

So, they knew they had to sneak a peak and they find a way in and ... they find it is chockful of awesome equipment. All sorts of stuff. Weird goggles and strange flashlights and two-way radios and on and on and most of it had cool names and instructions and naturally the quartet has to try some out.

And since all this stuff was obviously spy gear and these four were a team, that's how they got their name! Simple, right?

YOUNG ADULT BOOKS

Number of Books:6
First Appearance:2006
Last Appearance:2007

Just after the start of this millennium, a company named Wild Planet Toys came out with a line of Spy Gear that was so cool and impressive looking that had I been a kid (physically) or if my wife would not have looked at me strangely, I would have bought some of them.

As part of the marketing plan, they came out with a series of juvenile adventure books about kids who get hold of these sorts of cool gadgets and have a blast with them.


1 The Secret of Stoneship Woods The Secret of Stoneship Woods
Written by Rick Barba
Copyright: 2006

"Team Spy Gear is born...
Jake and Lucas Bixby and their friends Cyril and Lexi are ordinary kids living in the typical suburban community of Carrolton. Nothing ever seems to happen in their town -- parents work, and kids go to school, play computer games, and hang out. Normal. Utterly normal.
Until the kids discover an abandoned warehouse smack in the middle of Stoneship Woods. Weird. And it's filled with high-tech surveillance equipment and tons of cool spy gadgets. Now it's really weird.
They're about to open a big fat can of worms.
And about to have the time of their lives."

2 The Massively Multiplayer Mystery The Massively Multiplayer Mystery
Written by Rick Barba
Copyright: 2006

"All fun and games?
Not!
There's a hot new online gaming phenomenon that's got Team Spy Gear's classmates enthralled. But when the mass enthusiasm for the game gets kind of, well, intense, our spies decide they've got to figure out who's behind the game. Fast. Oh, and also how it all relates to the oldest surviving epic in British literature.
You know, just a typical day's work for our under-the-radar tween spies living in suburbia..."

3 The Quantum Quandary The Quantum Quandary
Written by Rick Barba
Copyright: 2006

"'Tis the season? Yeah, right.
It's holiday time in Corrolton, but things are anything but festive. Here's the deal: There may be a quantum hacker lurking around, which means someone has the ability to create a computer a billion times faster and smarter than anything you've ever seen. Everything would be vulnerable: banks, the military, even national security. Yowsa.
It's up to Team Spy Gear to figure out who's gone quantum (they think they know), where he or she is located (they have no idea), and, toughest of all, how Cyril managed to meet an actual girl. (Yes, you read that last part right.) All while attempting to foil a dastardly plot by the Wolf Pack.
And you were worried about getting all the gifts on your list...."

4 The Doomsday Dust The Doomsday Dust
Written by Rick Barba
Copyright: 2006

"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.
It's bitter winter in Corrolton, but frigid temperatures don't keep evildoers from, well, doing evil. And once again Team Spy Gear finds itself up against something truly bizarre (and also extremely cool, of course).
This time, it's a pack of deadly nano-entities that self-organize into small swirling nano-swarms. Not sure what that could possibly look like? Okay, picture Dorothy and a bunch of minitwisters. Now take Dorothy out, and make the twisters white (since they have the ability to mimic the landscape, which in this case is snow).
You gotta admit, it's evil fun! Except that these entities have other capabilities as well: They can mimic other life-forms and morph into stuff. Plus they have a networked intelligence that enables them to learn, adapt, and evolve quickly. With evil at the helm, you can see where this is headed....
More than just your January blues, dontcha think?"

5 The Shrieking Shadow The Shrieking Shadow
Written by Rick Barba
Copyright: 2007

"Team Spy Gear begin to lead credence to the existence of a Loch Ness monster due to the enormous thing lurking in the Carrolton Reservoir, but they soon learn it is Viper's evil plan involving dark matter, a spaceship, and a threat to humanity."

6 The Omega Operative The Omega Operative
Written by Rick Barba
Copyright: 2007

"The End?
Someone trapped deep (and we do mean deep) inside Viper's organization is trying to contact Team Spy Gear but is having a devil of a time doing so. What this mystery caller doesn't know is that our kids are busy hanging around a creepy nest colony in Stoneship Woods and checking out a seemingly normal suburban house where odd things are happening...a house that must be spied on.
What else can our team do? Their last message from the Omega Link - about someone in serious need of help - was ages ago. But the kids had better save their energy, because they're about to tackle a booby-trapped backyard obstacle course right out of a videogame designer's worst nightmare and face a final showdown with the vile Wolf Pack. That ought to keep them busy until they can get some intel on the Agency, the Dark Man, the Gloved Agent, Marco, Mr. Latimer, Barbie Bickle, Dr. Tim, and those awesome black helicopters.
All in a day's work, my friends, all in a day's work."

GAMES

Number of Games:2
First Appearance:2008
Last Appearance:2008

1 Spy Gear: Spy Trackdown Spy Gear: Spy Trackdown
Game Type: Boardgame
Published by: Wild Planet Toys
Copyright: 2008

"Somewhere on Earth is a spy mastermind that must be captured! Compete against other secret agents in a globe-hopping race to track him down. Travel by sports car, motorcycle, helicopter, and jet! Discover his hidden hideouts on each continent to gather clues to his whereabouts. Throughout the game you'll receive secret audio transmissions from headquarters with information for your ears only! With clever deduction and cunning strategy, you can outwit your opponents and be the first to bring down the evil spymaster!"
The game can have 4 players.

2 Spy Gear: Spy Wire Spy Gear: Spy Wire
Game Type: Circuit Board
Published by: Wild Planet Toys
Copyright: 2008

"Race against the clock to neutralize detonators and deactivate the explosive before it blows! In this fast-moving, suspenseful strategy game, players slide the wire tiles to make connections between their defuser and their opponent's pegs, close the circuits, and deactivate their fuses. Comes with a electronic countdown time and explosive sound effects that create sudden-death endings if you make the wrong move. Live to spy another day ... there's not a second to waste!"

COLLECTIBLES

Number of Collectibles:5
First Appearance:2006
Last Appearance:2013

1 XP-6 Spy Watch XP-6 Spy Watch
Item Type: Spy Gear
Created by: Wild Planet
Copyright: 2006

Be the spy on your block with this cool wrist watch. What Time Is It? Time To Spy!
As a secret agent, your ally is this multi-function watch with the all gadgets needed as follows:
Stop Watch, Night Vision, World Time, Magnifying Lens, Pop-Up Telescope, Motion Alarm with Time Stamp and the Safe-Drop Capsules.

2 Spy Lazer Chase Spy Lazer Chase
Item Type: Spy Gear
Created by: Wild Planet
Copyright: 2006

Catch enemy spies!
Lazer Chase is the high-tech way to capture spies - just aim and flex your fist to fire. But watch out, because your laser unit is also the target. 5 hits and you're history!

3 Digital Spy Camera Digital Spy Camera
Item Type: Spy Gear
Created by: Wild Planet
Copyright: 2006

Now you can capture and save images from your spy missions! Attach the camera to the spy sunglasses that are
provided and when ready to record an image just click the photo button on the handheld remote, then download the images to
your computer. It's an actual digital camera that stores 18 spy photos. The camera also folds in and out from the impact resistant
UV protection spy sunglasses.

4 Spy Night Scope Spy Night Scope
Item Type: Spy Gear
Created by: Wild Planet
Copyright: 2007

See in the dark up to 25 ft. away with these Binoculars with Pop-Up light. The lenses are green tinted with stealth mode beams and a spring loaded mechanism activates the spotlight. It's an Ultra Sophisticated and Award Winning design.

5 Spy Video Car VX6 Spy Video Car VX6
Item Type: Spy Gear
Created by: Wild Planet
Copyright: 2013

Be the spy in the family with "The Ultimate Spy RC" that is battery powered!" Includes RC Car and Color Video Controller that
lets you see what the car sees in full color. Also has night vision to see in complete darkness.

ODDS & ENDS

Number of Items:1
First Appearance:2006
Last Appearance:2006

1 Secret Agent Pen Secret Agent Pen
Item Type: Invisible Ink Pen
Made by: Wild Planet
Copyright: 2006

What's that you're writing? Nobody knows -cause it's invisible! Use the pen to write an invisible
message that can be revealed with the UV decoder light. The pen also comes with special message paper.

MY COMMENTS

If I were younger ... oh, my goodness, would I have devoured these books. The adventures are pretty fun and the narrator is a hoot and a half and the kids are great to follow, especially Lexi (I would never, ever, try to follow her literally because what she does is scary, but figuratively ...)

The marketing idea of these books was a pretty good one from what my layman's viewpoint. I have no idea if it worked or not but it sure impressed me.

I liked the fact that the author did not get outlandish in his plotlines - just cool enough to make me want to get the spy gear these kids used and try them out myself!

GRADE

My Grade: B

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