Hi everyone, as promised, I am going to be posting my reviews here on this blog. So, here is my first review after the move! I know it has been a really long time, but I am back to reviewing books now.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Please read this first: The story of this book draws a lot from the stories of the first three books. So, it is possible that spoilers will creep into my review. If you haven’t read the first three books, please don’t read any further.
I have to start by saying that I have loved each of Kiwi’s previous adventures, and this one is no different. Vickie’s books have grown in scope and complexity, which is something I really like. The kids, at whom this series is aimed, can now grow along with the books.
The latest instalment of the Kiwi series is slightly different. For one, this is definitely not a stand-alone book, or something which can be read out of turn. The story in this book draws on plotlines from previous books, and a number of minor characters from previous books return now. Secondly, this book can clearly be divided into two distinct parts. Although, these parts are intricately linked, with one progressing effortlessly from the other, you can clearly see where one part ends and a new one begins.
The story begins with Inspector Furball’s engagement ring getting stolen. The investigation for this takes the gang to the UnderPaw, an underground world where the criminals and cast-outs of Cat City stay. I found this new world created by the author to be a wonderful addition to the gamut of places the gang has visited. We also get to experience the music which is liked by the carizens, another one of the author’s brilliant adaptations of the human world to the cat world. The risk of being down there, and the way in which the gang goes about finding the relevant clues to solve the crime was extremely interesting. This is where Part One of the story ends, and also where the story takes an unexpected and interesting twist.
There is a small but hilarious diversion when Hammy and the other hamsters go out on a Freedom March, demanding better living conditions. I thought the reactions of people to talking animals was really appropriate, and seemed extremely real. The reaction of the grown-ups to the march shows us that they have lost their ability to believe the unexpected and their need to rationalize everything. This is an important message the author is trying to put across.
Part Two of the story takes place in a completely different world. This is a world filed with magic and I loved how this world was constructed. The idea that the whole world seemed to be under water, but everyone could breathe easily was something unique. The gang which goes to this world now involves a lot of characters from the previous books, including James pet hamster, and the mouse from book 2, the bees and the squirrels from book 3, and a complete cat squad.
As the name of the book suggests, the gang has to fight against a really powerful Serpent who of course, has extremely strong magic too. The gang is helped along the way by a number of small and large creatures. The big fight sequence in the end is a battle scene where all the creatures, big and small unite to fight against the powerful and tainted magic of the Serpent. I found that this scene was a bit too busy for my liking. Everyone was doing something to help but, there was just too much happening and I found it hard to follow the events. Also, with these many creatures, the author had to come up with so many names that I got lost, and could not remember who she was referring to. I think that quite a number of the creatures could have remained anonymous, and that would have helped the story’s comprehension. But I have to quickly add that this did clearly bring out how powerful the Serpent really was.
But, there are so many wonderful things kids can learn from this story, that I think these minor issues can and should be ignored. From this story, I learnt that size and strength do not necessarily go together, and that even a small creature can make a huge difference. With all the creatures working together, we get to learn about the importance of teamwork, and how working together, we can achieve great things. We also learn about the importance of bravery, and how bravery is about doing something important even though we are scared. We also learn about leadership, and how the best leaders lead by example, rather than by preaching. And finally we learn about the importance of family, and how we should be willing to do anything to keep our family together.
As with the other Kiwi books, this one ends on a happy note as well. Everything is set back to normal in Cat City, and each character has something to rejoice about. I just have to say that I loved this adventure of Kiwi and the gang!
Other books in the series:
- Kiwi in Cat City by Vickie Johnstone
- Kiwi and the missing Magic (Kiwi series) by Vickie Johnstone
- Kiwi and the living nightmare (Kiwi Series) by Vickie Johnstone