Review Blog

Jul 01 2014

Figaro and Rumba and the Crocodile Cafe by Anna Fienberg

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Allen and Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743314883.
(Ages: 6 to 9) Recommended. The Crocodile Cafe is the first title in a new series by Anna Fienberg (of the Tashi books), based around two very likeable characters Figaro and Rumba. Figaro is a energetic, happy-go-lucky dog who lives with his best friend Rumba, a very conscientious and somewhat melancholy Cuban cat. Rumba misses his home in Cuba, and channels his energy into a rigorous cleaning routine. Figaro on the other hand would rather play and explore, and catch the Very Fast Train. Rumba agrees they can go on the train after they have mopped the floor and cleaned the windows. After a few interruptions they finally catch the train, and meet a Cuban conga0playing crocodile. They learn some important lessons about friendship and trust, and we get to meet some other interesting characters who will appear in future titles.
Stephen Michael King's illustrations enhance the story beautifully capturing the quirky, bohemian, and suaveness of the various characters. Every page has a small colour illustration, with a few full-page pictures along the way, making it a perfect book for readers moving from picture books to novels. A lovely introduction to what is sure to become a favourite new series among primary students.
Donella Reed

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