Review Blog

Aug 19 2014

Cryptic casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta: The quivering quavers by Ursula Dubosarsky

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Puzzles and illustrations by Terry Denton. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743319512.
(Age: Middle primary and adults) Highly recommended. This is a new to me series by the ever reliable Ursula Dubosarsky. This is a funny mystery when Alberta receives a coded letter from Coco to come to fly to South America and help him solve a mystery. La Bella Cucharita the stupendous guinea pig opera star is about to return to the stage for the first time since a disaster earlier in her career. A series of threatening coded notes have been received by her and Coco is puzzled by their meaning.
In a scenario familiar to readers of an old fashioned mystery and with the swagger of Cary Grant in a Hitchcock film, Coco and Alberta, must solve the mystery before the diva hits the fourth quaver. In the meantime a series of daring jewel thieves are thrilling the guinea pigs of Buenos Aires
Readers are invited to help solve the puzzle with lots of clues being provided. The beautifully illustrated pictures capture the scenes and provide further visual clues. As well we learn a few words of Spanish. This is an enjoyable and visual read on so many levels. Terry Denton's illustrations will draw the visual readers in and the puzzles and codes are sure to engage.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Alberta may be the word spy! Ursula Dubosarsky's books are always a treat. It is delightful to be able to highly recommend this book for middle school primary years and adults of all ages.
Michael Jorgen

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