Children's Book Review
by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com
Allen and Unwin (2013).
Buenos Aires' Chief of Police, Coco Carlomagno, is sure his office high in the Obelisco is haunted. Every day at the same time he sees a floating pineapple and every day he hears a terrible noise. What could it mean? Who could it be? There's only one guinea pig Coco can turn to to help him in his hour of need: his logic-loving cousin Alberta. Can Alberta help him unravel the mysteries of the perplexing pineapple?
Kids love solving puzzles and there are plenty in this enjoyable detective story for children aged 6-8. You can see a sample puzzle in an activity sheet at the Allen and Unwin website. Dubosarsky also brings us quirky characters and a wacky story guaranteed to make kids laugh and ask for more. I loved learning facts like the one about bank robbers commonly speaking guinea-pig latin!
There are lots of black and white cartoon-style sketches by Denton to add even more fun to the guinea pig capers, and break up the text for kids who may be daunted by a longer chapter book. There's a glossary of Spanish words to help young readers, too.
Also available as an e-book, The Perplexing Pineapple: The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno (and Alberta) Bk 1 makes a mouthful of a title, and an excellent choice for homes and libraries where kids appreciate mysteries, puzzles and a fun, fast read.
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