2 out of 4 stars
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An antique, priceless sword gets stolen from a museum in Colombo. Inca, a Siberian cat, is vacationing in Sri Lanka along with her siblings Cara, Charlotte, Fromage, and their human mom. Inca owns a detective company named Inca & Company. Curious by nature, Inca gets intrigued by the thievery. As luck may have it, mom’s friend from Kensington, Solo, gets hired by the Director of the Colombo museum to solve the mystery of the stolen sword. Inca finds this is a brilliant opportunity to assist Solo and his companion dog, Terrance, with solving the crime. Would Inca be able to save the national treasure? Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R.F. Kristi is the 7th book from the Inca book series. The book features illustrations by Jorge Valle. Even though the book is part of a series, it can be easily read as a stand-alone book.
I would like to begin with the illustrations as they are major attractions in children’s books. In this case, the illustrations were far too less and quite apart. The illustration I liked the most was the family tree of the furry companions provided at the beginning of the story. I would have liked it if there had been cartoons throughout the book to depict what was happening in the story. Next, I found the book rather long and often dragged unnecessarily. It made the pace of narration seem choppy. There is a lengthy list of characters that would be difficult for young readers to remember. My major issue was with the mystery itself. Given that this is a children’s book, I was not expecting a very complex plot. But this particular plot was very bland, and I felt like Inca did not have much role to play.
What I liked about the book was that it would allow the readers to know about a different country. The author has added details about Sri Lanka which would be a nice educational experience. For example, it was thoughtful of the author to mention the significance of elephants in marriages in Sri Lanka. Although, I would have liked it if there had been a glossary at the end of the book. The vocabulary used is not suitable for very young readers. For example, it would have been nice to explain words like smack-dab, diminutive, scrumptious, etc. Also, to enrich the reading experience the author could have mentioned what the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites were in Sri Lanka.
Even though I did not enjoy reading the book much, I liked the underlying message. After solving the mystery, Inca congratulates all the companions, including the Sri Lankan locals Rani and Meena for their help. He expresses gratitude and mentions how teamwork is important.
I would rate the book 2 out of 4 stars. I would not recommend the book to very young readers. They would have difficulty understanding the complex words used. Also, certain episodes like the encounter of Inca with the snake in the jungle might be a little scary. For older readers, the book might be a bit boring. I would recommend the book to children in the age group to 5 to 10 years.
Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat
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