I don't really do product placement. It's not really my thing, but occasionally a product comes along that is so firmly in my wheelhouse that it would be churlish not to sing its praises. I recently attended the Mumsnet Blogfest, which was much more inspiring than I had expected. The speakers throughout the day were erudite and eloquent, the Scummy Mummies were brilliantly funny and the whole day has really helped me to recommit to writing and to focus on what I'm going to do next with all this. To be honest, I was expecting it all to be very corporate and brash so I was delighted to meet Sophie Deen and get swept away in her passion and pride in her project. Everyone, meet Detective Dot.
What I like about it is that this isn't just a story; it's an ongoing mission in educating and inspiring children. Dot isn't just a female hero who appeals to boys and girls, who is in to STEM and who helps other people - although, my word, that's enough for me to be singing her praises anyway. More than that, Dot aims to help children to really question the world around them, to interrogate their own privilege. Your child has the opportunity to join the Children's Intelligence Agency. They will receive a TOP SECRET envelope through the post - thrilling when you're under ten - which contains additional missions. Kids can investigate things in their own lives, like who made their favourite toy etc - I won't go into too much detail, you'll have to find out for yourselves.
Since reading it my son has certainly been more considered in his approach to the world - I'm constantly being asked what things are made of, what country they come from. etc. It's gratifying and infuriating in equal measure. Thank god for Google. Admittedly I've tried to work through a couple of the CIA's missions with him and he's not been massively interested, but then he is 7 and it is nearly Christmas so this is probably worth reintroducing these activities in January to help stave off the post-Christmas malaise.
I will leave it to my own secret agent to explain what he likes about the whole story "I liked that Dot was really good with technology. She had the ability to talk to technology and she used that ability in the book. It was exciting and sometimes funny."
Thank you Sophie (and family) for this brilliant brilliant project - I just wish I was allowed to join the Children's Intelligence Agency too!