3 out of 4 stars
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Are you kitten me?
A story about a Siberian kitty with a snoopy cat-titude?
Paw-lease sign me up!
Fortunately, or should I say fur-tunately, Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R.F. Kristi does not have terrible cat puns. Illustrated by Jorge Valle, the book prefers to delight the readers with a lively story about a cat detective. It is written for children and animal lovers.
Being the fifth book in the Inca Book Series, Diary of a Snoopy Cat begins with a list of the main characters in the series, along with a short description to jog the memory of those who have read the previous books or catch up those who haven't. Inca's family includes Cara, a vain Siamese kitty; Fromage, a tabby who likes cheese; Charlotte, a dwarf Roborovski hamster; and their humans Missy and Aunt Florence.
While some parts of the book refer to the characters' adventures in the previous books, it can be read by itself. Written from the point of view of Inca, the lead character who is a Siberian cat, the book is presented as Inca's diary which counts down to Christmas. There are two main stories. Terrance, their Golden Retriever friend, leaves for the Himalayas with his human Solo, a detective. They hope to locate Raoul, the husband of Señora Conchita whom they helped locate a necklace in a prevous case, and Polo's human. Lance is tasked to take care of Solo's other pet, Monk, a Blue Russian cat but Lance is unusually interested in some members of the animal detective group. Polo, a Pekinese dog, refers to the group the case of Boss, a Rottweiler, whose favorite human, Ned, is in danger of being turned out of their house. Ned had taken care of Mr. Finchley and Boss for years and the house was willed to Ned. However, upon Mr. Finchley's death, his nephew Cyril plans to kick out Ned from the house and keep Boss. Boss pleads with the Inca and Co. detective agency to help find the will. What follows is an action-packed adventure story with a heart-pounding chase.
My favorite parts of the book were the illustrations and the sound effects. The author has definitely captured the behavior of cats, dogs and hamsters perfectly and presented the characters with their unique personalities. I liked that the lead character has hubris enough to admit that she wanted to solve the mystery by herself. Her opinions and feelings definitely lend authenticity to the diary format. Unfortunately, there were several typos and sentences that lacked a comma. There was inconsistency in referring to the animals' relationships with the humans as mom or dad but also using the terms owned and humanoid. I also didn't like that there were characters that were introduced but did not really feature in the story. I had to note down four household family trees to keep track of the characters, their breed and species. Consequently, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
Nevertheless, the strengths of the book overcome its weaknesses. I would definitely recommend this book to children, the young at heart, animal lovers, and fans of detective stories. There are references to Christmas traditions of family togetherness, yet the book is not overly religious. Be warned of instances of possible peril to animals as a result of their shenanigans.
Diary of a Snoopy Cat
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