3 out of 4 stars
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Curiosity killed the cat, but Inca isn’t too worried about it, as satisfaction would bring her back.
Cat Detectives in the Korean Peninsula: Diary of a Snoopy Cat is the eighth edition of The Inca Detective Series in which Inca, the Siberian kitten, takes us to Korea for an exhilarating adventure.
The introduction gives us an insight into Inca’s ancestry and her relation to the majestic Siberian Tiger. It also familiarises us with the various other characters in the book including some other cats, a hamster, a dog and Missy, their ‘human Mom’.
Missy is a renowned chef who has invented a new type of cheese. She has been given an exciting opportunity to present her creation when she is invited to be one of the judges of the French patisserie competition organised between South and North Korean chefs by Le Cordon Bleu Cookery which is to be held in the buffer zone between the two countries. There is even a special event for her new cheese! Sounds like a magnificent launch, doesn’t it?
But all is not as easy as it sounds! Will Missy be able to get her creation safely to the event? Is that the only hindrance in the way or is there something more waiting for them in Korea?
I particularly like the fact that the book is from the point of view of a cat and how that gives us a unique insight. It is almost comical and grim at the same time, how Inca thinks that they have adopted a pet hamster and that the cats jointly own Missy! I especially also like how it portrays how each animal has very distinctive characteristics.
The book while introducing us to Inca’s ancestry teaches children the importance of their own ancestry, and while Inca shows pride in her own, it teaches the children to do the same.
I especially like the way the writer subtly tries to inform the young minds of the conflict between South Korea and North Korea and impresses the fact that it should be resolved so that families are not separated and everyone can live in peace. It portrays an understated political viewpoint, teaching the need for peace and not war to children in the most unpretentious way possible, in a way that children would understand its importance.
However, I was somewhat disheartened when the mystery and the adventure weren’t as eventful as promised. It was quite predictable who the culprit was even before the theft had taken place, and the mystery was established. Even considering that it is a children’s book, it would’ve been better if there were clues leading to the culprit and it wouldn’t be as obvious.
On another positive note, the colourful images will certainly grab the attention of the children. Further, the book seems to be professionally edited as I did not find any grammatical errors. It will also certainly teach children new words as there is some good use of vocabulary.
I rate Cat Detectives in the Korean Peninsula: Diary of a Snoopy Cat three out of four stars. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who wants to read a book from a unique perspective, pet-lovers and of course children. This book could even be incorporated as a fun project by teachers, demonstrating the importance of history, geography, politics, cooking, teamwork, creativity and of course English in a subdued manner.
The below quote by William S Burroughs is a perfect summary of the events in the book:
******”My relationship with my cats has saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance.”
Cat Detectives in the Korean Peninsula
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