We are so excited to once again feature book reviews by special guests throughout July and August this year. For our first guest review, we are pleased to welcome Melinda Taliancich Falgoust, author of The Gubbins Club: The Legend of Charlie’s Gold, (click HERE for our review and to win a copy of HER fabulous book!) and her 9 year-old son, Gabe. AND, Melinda is generously donating a copy of the book she and her son reviewed as well as a special gift. Read on for more details…
** NOTE: For an extra treat, visit Melinda’s blog InkSpired, where you will see a different version of this review. It is very funny, so please do check it out! **
Author: Mike Nicholson
Year published: 2005
Publisher: Floris Books
Number of pages: 180
Recommended age: 10+
Reviewed by Featured Guest Reviewers: Melinda F., author of The Gubbins Club and her son Gabe F. (9)
1. What is the story about? This is a neat mystery about a bunch of missing cats and watches that go backwards and no one knows why. It takes place in Comely Bank, which even though it is in Scotland, is a lot like where I live.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? There aren’t any pictures in this book, so I really had to use my imagination, but Mr. Nicholson made it pretty easy because he gave really great descriptions. There are two copies of this book in my house right now. They are both pretty cool even though the cover colors are different because the drawings look like they were done by somebody my age. That made me a little more interested. What really made it neat was the “Missing Cat” poster drawn right on the front. That let me know right away that this was going to be a mystery about cats.
3. Who is/are the main character(s)? Can you relate to them? Fergus Speight and Murdo Fraser are the two main characters. They also wind up with an unusual friend, Jessie, an old lady who knows karate. I really like these characters because they seemed like real people you might meet on the street and not made up. Fergus is the most like me. I like checking things out as much as he does. Murdo is a fun guy, but he’s a little too organized for me. My mom says I should try to organize my room like Murdo organizes his command center. Not gonna happen.
4. Have you experienced anything in your life like what happens in this book? What happened? The closest thing that ever happened to me was when my dogs went missing. Somebody in our neighborhood was going around opening people’s gates and their animals kept getting loose. Mostly dogs. We found our dogs, but our neighbor’s Yorkie is still missing. Nobody has been able to figure out who’s behind it.
5. What is your favorite part of the story? I laughed out loud when Fergus gets covered in fish goop. Funny parts are always my favorite part of a book. But, I also like all the times where the boys are on the verge of getting caught as they explore the mystery. The book always had me nervous – in a good way.
6. What is your least favorite part of the story? My least favorite part of the story was Mr. Stein. He was super nasty. But, I guess you’re not supposed to like the bad guy, are you?
7. Are there parts of the story that don’t make sense? No. Mr. Nicholson did a pretty good job explaining everything. There were a few words here and there that I had to ask my mom about. They call some things by different names in Scotland, I found out. Some of them I could figure out by myself from the rest of the story, but it was cool learning how other people talk.
8. How did the story make you feel? The story made me feel excited because I wanted to solve the mystery as badly as Fergus and Murdo. I also felt good at the end because they figured it all out.
9. Who do you think would like this book? I think this is a good book for anyone who likes mysteries. I will probably re-read it because there were so many funny moments.
Son's Rating: ★★★★★
Son's Rating: ★★★★★
What it’s about:
INTRODUCING THE BRAND NEW, EXCITING
Twenty funky functions. A thermometer to register the temperature…inside AND outside. A calculator to tabulate how much the latest Nintendo 3DS game will cost plus tax. Check out the time zones in New York, Paris and Tokyo. Also runs backwards….
Fergus Speight feels like going backwards. Right back to Crockett’s Watches & Clocks to return his brand-new digital watch when it starts to run in the wrong direction. But, missing minutes are not the only thing disappearing in the normally quiet Comely Bank neighborhood. Cats are mysteriously vanishing without a trace, and new friends Fergus and gadget guru Murdo Fraser are on the case. This is a delightful middle-grade mystery that will be enjoyed by children and adults. It very subtly teaches the lesson of the value of every person, no matter what their age or abilities as the two boys solve their case with the help of some unlikely allies: an old woman, a police inspector, and the dreaded big sister. Oh, let’s not forget Jock, Murdo’s loyal canine!
My thoughts: The story is easily accessible to most readers, with a reasonable vocabulary expected for a middle-grade reader. Mr. Nicholson is quite adept at describing the Comely Bank neighborhood with its familiar characters and not-so-familiar mysterious vaults beneath Raeburn Place. The reader truly feels like he or she is walking side-by-side with Fergus and Murdo as they investigate the case of the missing cats. Catscape has a tightly woven plot that hinges on well-paced action and believable, realistic characters that any reader will adore.
My bottom line: I would definitely recommend this book for all mystery lovers ages 10+. It’s another example of a winning read from the Floris Book Contemporary Kelpies line. (And cats will likely enjoy it as well as there is plenty of fish for their enjoyment!)
Mom's Rating: ★★★★★
Mom's Rating: ★★★★★
* Giveaway *
Prize: Melinda Taliancich Falgoust is giving away a copy of Catscape by Mike Nicholson PLUS a cat-shaped talking digital clock to one lucky winner.
Contest runs: July 5 to 17, 11:59 pm, 2013
Open: United States and Canada
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: A randomly drawn winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. If you have any additional questions, feel free to send us an email!
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