'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Shout Out: The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta

Meet Coco Carlomagno, Chief of Police in Buenos Aires, and his cunning cousin Alberta. Together they solve crimes by thwarting the plans of criminal masterminds and clearing up misunderstandings and confusion.  Who are these amazing crime-fighters and defenders of public order?

Why, they are guinea pigs, of course!

The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta is a fantastic humour-filled junior fiction series by talented author/illustrator team Ursula Dubosarsky and Terry Denton. Filled with adventure, word play and puzzles to solve, these books are ideal for confident young readers looking for challenging first chapter books.

Dubosarsky’s clever text is filled with puns, word play and a selection of Spanish words (glossary included) that will tweak the interest of advanced and independent readers, while the entertaining story, ratio of text to illustrations, humour, and challenge of ‘solving’ the crime before Coco and Alberta will appeal to reluctant readers.

Puzzles included in the stories include mazes, rebus/pictogram puzzles, jumbled letters, codes, spoonerisms and more.

There are currently five titles available in the series with a sixth book scheduled for publication by Allen & Unwin in November 2014. In each case, the sensible and clear-thinking Alberta travels to Buenos Aires to help her cousin Coco solve a crime that threatens to overwhelm him and cause chaos in the city. From perplexing pineapples to distraught operatic divas, Alberta and Coco always manage to solve the crime in the end and save the day.

Personally, I find it hard to resist the concept of guinea pig detectives roaming the streets of Buenos Aires and I particularly enjoy finding out what mangled version of Coco’s name will appear at the end of each book (Chico Chompomucho? Clicko Crockemboco) and his ever expanding list of commendations, which relate to the crime solved in each book.

Funny, clever, interesting and filled with guinea pigs, The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta are fantastic first chapter books for young readers.

The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta titles include:
The Perplexing Pineapple (ISBN: 9781743312575) (KBR review)
The Looming Lamplight (ISBN: 9781743312599)
The Missing Mongoose (ISBN: 9781743312605)
The Dismal Daffodil (ISBN: 9781743319505)
The Quivering Quavers (ISBN: 9781743319512)
The Talking Tombstone (published November 2014) (ISBN: 9781743319529)

Title: The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta series
Author: Ursula Dubosarsky
Illustrator: Terry Denton
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $9.99 RRP
Format: Paperback
For ages: 6 - 8
Type: Junior Fiction