Little Book,  Middle grade

Agent Pangolin

A. C. Bradburn

Sunda is a pangolin on a mission.
Her family has been taken by poachers, she's been ripped away from her beloved Sumatran rainforest and now the beautiful nature reserve that she calls home in London is about to be destroyed by humans.
But there's no way she's going to let that happen.
Sunda becomes an animal secret agent for the mysterious 'Web of Light' and discovers an ancient legend that could help save her home. Can she solve the mystery of the shiny moon before it's too late?
With beautiful illustrations by Julia Vasileva, this is a magical story of courage, friendship and justice for the natural world.



A ginormous paw bashed Sunda’s back. She was drenched with fear.


And again, THUD!

She recited the pangolin mantra: curl up, hold firm, don’t relax for one second. That was the pangolin way – at the first sign of danger, roll into a protective ball and wait for the threat to pass. Wincing as the paw struck yet again, she kept her long tail firmly clasped around her head. Her tough, chestnut brown scales gave her the perfect suit of armour. Then the snuffling began – probing, teasing, searching for a way in, first with claws, then with teeth. She held her breath. Eventually a slobbery tongue wrapped around her scales and propelled her across the forest floor. She came to rest at the foot of a giant meranti tree, perched on one of its roots like a stranded soursop.

The tiger cub came at her again, lolloping over the crisp, dry leaves. It grunted, so close that Sunda could feel its steamy breath. A slimy globule of saliva oozed down over her scales and onto the ground. She hadn’t managed to get a proper look but it seemed like a young one, hopefully too small to break her defences. But the cub’s parents couldn’t be far away and the thought of a fully-grown Sumatran tiger sent a fresh burst of terror through her scales.


There was no mistaking that – a warning cry from mother to child. Sunda peeked out from behind her armoured coat to see the end of a striped tail disappearing into the undergrowth. She cautiously unfurled, stretching out her soft belly with a hum of relief. That was close! But what had so alarmed the mother tiger? Perhaps the cub had strayed just a little too far – yes, that was probably all it was, nothing to worry about. Sunda ought to be getting back home though, not least because she was supposed to be looking after Marshanda. Her parents would be furious if they found out she’d been foraging for ants instead of watching her younger sister. She lifted her long snout into the air and took a sniff; she wasn’t too far from home and fortunately the tiger cub had raced off in the opposite direction.

Sunda trundled back towards her family, looking forward to telling Marshanda of her brave escape from the deadly tiger, when she caught sight of a procession of ants marching up a tree. Her nose was quick to locate the nest and with such an irresistible aroma, she forgot about returning home. Instead, she scampered up the trunk to find an enormous hollow teeming with mouth-watering insects. Closing her eyes, she plunged her long sticky tongue into the delicious black mass.


The sound ricocheted around the dense forest – a grotesque echo, distorting as it bounced from tree to tree. Humans! With a gun! No wonder the mother tiger had sent out a warning. Sunda froze.


That one was much closer and Sunda shuddered as she clung to the trunk. She was stranded in a tree, unable to ball up and protect herself. And where was her family? It felt like the hundreds of ants that she’d just gobbled up were crawling through her insides, trying to work their way back up again. She heard shuffling from the forest floor and looked down to see her mum and dad just below.

‘Sunda, Marshanda, where are you?’ her father called.

Marshanda! Where’s Marshanda?

She’d been perfectly safe where Sunda had left her. She’d only been gone a minute, hadn’t she? Surely Marshanda was still there – she had to be. Sunda’s heart was pumping so fast that she thought it would explode. She desperately searched the forest for Marshanda.

‘Sunda! Marshanda!’ yelled her father.

‘I’m up here,’ answered Sunda. Her dad looked up, their eyes met and the ants in her stomach calmed as relief flooded his face. But then a heavy crunch instantly made both her parents snap into a ball and a pair of large muddy boots stomped to the foot of the tree. Her mum and dad were picked up and casually chucked into a woven sack. Then the boots turned and strode away, taking the sack with them.


Sunda remained glued to the tree, staring at the empty space where her mum and dad had been moments earlier. She couldn’t get her legs to move. Yet a voice inside was screaming at her to run, to chase down that man, to rescue her parents. She’d heard about this happening to other pangolins – kidnapped, stolen, never seen again – but she’d been lucky it had never been her family. Until now.


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Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: 24th November 2022
Format: Paperback
Pages: 170
Genre: Childrens
Age: 7-9 years old
Reviewer: N/A
Source: N/A

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