Agent Harrier: This Book Will Self Destruct by Ben Sanders

Agent Harrier: This Book Will Self Destruct – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Clever, comic, humour, action, spy.
Children’s book title: Agent Harrier: This Book Will Self Destruct.
Children’s author and illustrator: Ben Sanders.
Genre: Graphic Novel.
Published by: Little Tiger.
ISBN: 9781801046107.
Recommended for children aged: 5-8 year-olds.
First published: Paperback April 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: KS1 and KS2 comic fans.

Agent Harrier: This Book Will Self Destruct by Ben Sanders

To see the latest price or order, click on the book cover image.

Our review:

Top Dog has tasked super-cool canine Secret Agent Harrier with a dangerous mission – stop the book from exploding!

Agent Harrier, your mission is to defuse the bomb, catch the culprit and save everyone from being blasted to smithereens!

Harrier has a James Bond worthy tool kit with all the gadgets a secret agent could need. It includes an invisible ink pen (which may have just run out of ink), spy glasses (to see through walls, disguises and plot holes), and a spare pair of underwear (just in case!).

The fate of the entire book is in your paws, Harrier (no pressure).

There’s a trail of red wire to follow and an incriminating set of footsteps which appear to implicate the notorious Red Herring. But Harrier starts to suspect that the real culprit is much closer to home and may actually be the one who is narrating this whole story…

Agent Harrier: This Book Will Self Destruct by Ben Sanders spread 1

This Book Will Self Destruct gives a clever twist to the classic spy adventure. The simple colour palette of black, white, grey and red gives a film-noir effect to this action-packed graphic novel. The bold layouts and dominance of speech will appeal to both emergent readers who want to move beyond picture books and reluctant older readers.

By bringing the narrator into the story, author and illustrator Ben Sanders gives the tale a post-modern twist, breaking the so-called fourth wall. The plot plays on aspects of the physical properties of the book, including page turns and footnotes. Such techniques serve to enhance the interactivity of the book, with the reader encouraged to recognise the stylistic choices that authors and illustrators must make, such as text size and image frames.

Agent Harrier: This Book Will Self Destruct by Ben Sanders spread 2

The groan-worthy puns – ‘You can’t handle the chewth’ and inevitable ‘you’re on mute’ moments of technological breakdowns add humour and playfulness to the story. There’s also a subtle but important message about not judging people by appearance and the value of teamwork.

The second book in the series – Agent Harrier: You Only Spy Twice – is due to be published in October 2024.

This Book Will Self Destruct is a funny, action-packed graphic novel that will appeal to fans of the Agent 9 and Peng and Spanner series.

Many thanks to Little Tiger for the review copy.

Agent Harrier: This Book Will Self Destruct by Ben Sanders spread 3

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If you like Agent Harrier: This Book Will Self Destruct by Ben Sanders you might also like: our reviews of Stitch Head: the Graphic Novel by Guy Bass and Pete Williamson, Peng and Spanners by Steve Webb, Peanut, Butter & Crackers: River Rescue by Paige Braddock and Agent 9: Flood-a-geddon! by James Burks.

Browse our  list of graphic novels for KS2

About Melanie Dillon

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Melanie has a Master’s degree in Information and Library Management; a Post Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature focusing on the Reading Agency’s Reading Well scheme & LGBT YA fiction, and extensive experience working in school and public libraries. Linkedin | Reviews by Melanie Dillon