Children’s Library Corner: Lionel and the Spy Next Door

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Ruhama is back with another great book suggestion!  This book is out of print so look for it in the library or online.

Seeing good books languish on the library shelves makes me sad, so I’ve come up with a few pairings to get you to try some of these ‘older’ titles, triggering your memory with something that’s considered a classic. Today’s offering is:

If you loved Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, then you must try Lionel and the Spy Next Door by Linda Allen!




The Summary

Lionel has decided he’d like to be a spy and has started his training on his own: he’s reading spy books, has a notebook to record suspicious activities and is working on maintaining a low profile. Life gets really exciting when a new and mysterious man moves in next door. Lionel is determined to find out what he’s up to, as everything from his name to the man’s looks make Lionel think he’s a secret agent.


The Project Ideas

Create a Treasure Hunt or map of your area so you can also track spies or suspicious looking characters, as well as find places to hide secret notes or objects! Use the following links to download and print blank maps and keys:

 Check out the book Spies (DK Eyewitness Books) for some real-life spy action. Pair this with Top Secret by Paul B. Janeszko to create some secret messages!


Got a GPS? Check out Geocaching as a family!


Want to try something a little more kid friendly? Go for Letterboxing (click on ‘Letterboxes’ in the menu and choose ‘map’ to find letterboxes in your area):


Find a bunch of I Spy books at the library, or create your own game of I Spy!

I spy

With my little eye




The Food Ideas

Get yourself a mustache cookie cutter and make cookies, Jell-O Jigglers, cheese or sandwiches in this iconic spy shape!


Spies often have to go to fancy dress dinner parties, so have everyone dress to the nines and get out the sparkling grape juice and champagne flutes (can be found in the wedding section of dollar stores), as well as trays of appetizers.


The Lowdown

Title:  Allen, Linda. Lionel and the Spy Next Door. NY: W. Morrow, 1980.

Age level: 3rd grade and up

All ages readaloud: yes

Series: no


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About the author

Gianna Kordatzky

I am married to the craziest, most awesome man I know. We have four kids–Ranging in ages from 5-10. You can learn more about my life as a mother and wife at .

I love to throw parties and be with friends. I love to read my Bible and grow closer to God. I love to eat and exercise. I have learned to love coffee.
And I could really use a nap.

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