3 out of 4 stars
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I have read a number of reviews of other books in R.F. Kristi’s Inca Cat Detective series, and they all seemed really interesting. So I was excited to finally have the time and opportunity to pick one up. Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat did not disappoint.
In Serendipity Mystery, Inca the Siberian cat and her family are vacationing in Sri Lanka. While they are there, a sword is stolen from a local museum. Their friend Solo, a detective in London, is hired by the museum to come find the sword. He brings his dog, Terrance, with him. Inca, being a snoopy cat, decides that she is on the case as well. With the help of Terrance, her cat siblings, and new friends they meet in Sri Lanka, she solves the case.
The book is recommended for kids seven to ten years of age, which is probably about right if they are reading it on their own. It is definitely a beginner-level chapter book. However, the story is appropriate for younger kids if a parent or older sibling were reading it to them.
Inca’s point-of-view is wonderful. She is a character that kids will relate to. Her sense of curiosity and her naturally friendly nature mean that she is always meeting new friends wherever she goes. In Serendipity Mystery, those friends include a turtle, two elephants, and a family of leopards.
Children will be delighted by the description of the Sri Lankan beach. They will be thrilled by Inca’s accidental and somewhat dangerous journey into the jungle alone. And they will see the importance of teamwork in solving problems. But most of all, they will see the beauty of friendship and chosen family, which was my favorite part of the book.
If I have any critique of the book it is that while there are wonderful descriptions of the natural beauty of Sri Lanka, there is very little description of the culture. The humans in the book go visit ruins, but because the animals do not go with them, there is no discussion of why those ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site, just that they are. Providing a little bit more of the history and culture of the country they are in, such as why the missing sword is so important, would add to the book and teach kids about a culture they may not be familiar with.
I give R.F. Kristi’s Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat three out of four stars. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could. The lack of information about the culture and history of Sri Lanka is the reason for the deduction. Otherwise, I highly recommend this book for kids who like animals and have a sense of adventure. In fact, I will be recommending it to friends whose kids are in the targeted age group. It would also be a great book to read with kids before going on a vacation to a new place.
Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat
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