Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Viva Cisco

Product Description (from Amazon.com)

Nearly true tales of a really cool parrot

"Viva Cisco" is a trilogy of funny stories for kids at the Age 10-13 reading level. All three tales unfold in a land called Topopootl, which lies in a hidden valley deep in the heart of Mexico. Because of its seclusion, the inhabitants have created a society without the benefit of human contact, and they don't seem to have missed out on anything important in the absence of that dubious blessing. In fact, they probably have more pure merriment and boisterous excitement than any human community could ever conceive. Much of the credit for that, though, must be laid at the feet of Topopootl's most..uh.. stimulating citizen, one Cisco las Verde Arara del Gucigalpa. Aka, Cisco the Parrot.

His is an ego burning brightly, and his quest is for nothing less than becoming the most notable dude in all Topopootl. In "Am I Famous Yet?", he wends his fractured way from being the Answer Man in Topopootl's public library, through a very public failure in "Show Biz", a humiliating defeat in Anything Goes Wrestling (at the hands of two little cockroaches), a "Mayday"; attempt at a high-altitude record for Parrots and, finally, to opening a very weird business; The Word Man-whose motto is, "Learn a big word and impress your friends.- The reader is sure to be spellbound as Cisco makes the sale of one of his Deluxe models: the word, "extracurricular" - a big impresser.

In "Cisco-PI", he combines the skills of Inspector Clouseau and Barney Fife in tackling Topopootl's first and only crime wave, a rash of burglaries. In a dazzling display of illogical thinking, he manages to accuse some innocent youngsters of being members of a crime family, and he fingers none other than Topopootl's President as their Godfather. Even by Cisco standards, it is a stunning blunder.

But he musters his will, applies his nimble brain to some very mysterious clues, and actually solves the case. The burglaries, it turns out, were all the work of Harry the Pack Rat, who traveled down from North America to put together a "Mexican Collection." That, in fact, is his plea as he is brought before the citizens of Topopootl "It wasn't stealing. It was collecting."

In this, the second book of the trilogy, Cisco is redeemed and achieves his coveted recognition, which serves to make him a worthy leader in the daring adventure that follows.

"Cisco and the Secret Room", Book Three, has Cisco leading four of his pals on a very dangerous mission to retrieve ancient evidence of Topopootl's origins. In a secret room in the heart of a mysterious pyramid, they discover the story of how Topopootl came into existence and who saved it from extinction.

As they read the inscriptions on the walls of the remarkable chamber, a tale unfolds of the Aztecs and Spaniards making the land unlivable for its non-human inhabitants; of a desperate expedition to find a place of refuge and peace; of the founding of Topopootl; of the threat of its extinction by a human invasion; finally, of the remarkable army of little skunks who save the day-and Topopootl-only by employing their secret weapon: El Gordo.


Viva Cisco is a fun read for kids. The storyline is engaging and I think most tweens would get a kick out of that characters and adventures. I enjoyed the humour in this book. I have not read the first and third books in the series but found Viva Cisco to be ok as a stand-alone book. I think this book would make a fun chapter-a-day read-aloud to the class book in school as well.

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