"The Lost Colors" (Book 1) A Caitlin & Rio Adventure
$24.99 (hardcover), $9.99 (paperback), $3.99 (kindle) Available wherever books are sold. ISBN 979-8-9860700-0-1
Check out the links, or read the review below...
The Lost Colors is Book 1 in the Caitlin and Rio adventure series for kids ages 8-12, and tells of a trio of friends faced with the challenge of discovering who has stolen color from the world.
Caitlin's Ragdoll cat Rio has also been altered, and now sports mysterious powers that can aid in their problem-solving attempts.
The story opens with Rio the cat's discovery of his new ability to speak the human language. He awakens Caitlin, who always knew her cat was extraordinary, and now has proof. Unfortunately, her cat's newfound ability came from a mysterious silver light that sucked all the color from her world as well as making him a magical talking cat.
As Caitlin and Rio pursue the truth and a remedy to losing the world's color, young readers embark on an adventure packed with intrigue, colorful conundrums, and the efforts of friends who attempt to solve the mystery and return color to their lives.
Clever Rio spearheads the effort with a savvy feline sense of discovery to make the plot even more intriguing.
Sally Alexander does a fine job of capturing the mystery as well as the fun interactions between friends and felines on a mission.
Is Professor Pinch in with the bad guys? Can they solve problems that adults cannot?
Advanced elementary to middle grade libraries seeking engaging, whimsical mystery adventures to attract kids to the written word will find all these elements and more in The Lost Colors, which injects a dose of humor into the mix for added value and fun.
It's highly recommended for its unexpected twists and turns, the dual profile of a Ragdoll cat who becomes even more extraordinary, and the young owner who loves him whether he can talk or not.
"The Missing Cats" (Book 2) A Caitlin & Rio Adventure
$24.99 Hardback/ $9.99 paperback/ $3.99 Kindle. Available wherever books are sold. ISBN 979-8-9860700-1-8
Check out the links, or read the full review below...
The Missing Cats provides Book 2 in The Adventures of Caitlin & Rio series, but prior familiarity with the first book is not a requirement. Sally Alexander provides a fine summary that recaps characters, setting, and past events, opening this latest saga with an intriguing premise: "Rio, Caitlin Maggert's Ragdoll cat, concentrated on trying to speak like a human. This was unusual. Everyone knows that cats can't speak. But Rio was a very special cat. Three weeks before the end of school and the start of the summer vacation something had happened that had changed Rio."
The recap ends with the fact that the criminal mastermind MacDougal, who stole the colors from the world, escaped to create more havoc, and The Missing Cats details this escapade.
There is no rest for the weary. Still recovering from his last struggle, Rio is drawn back into the fold of mystery and adversity when blue-eyed neighborhood cats begin to go missing. It's a cat-tastrophy that only he can solve, and the answers to the mystery drive a riveting tale that ages 8-12 will find fun and absorbing.
The story involves more than cats. Human relationships are tested, as well: "Caitlin didn't want Molly in her attic bedroom. She was still hurt and angry that Molly had betrayed her and Rio, just because the meanest girl in the world had been nice to her."
From missing cats and the clues left by catnip mice to human and cat interactions, readers receive an engaging romp through Rio's life and the children that surround him.
As in Alexander's first story, the characters come to life to exhibit traits of problem-solving, tackling interpersonal dilemmas, and driving action-laced intrigue that keeps kids guessing about not just outcomes, but relationships.
The result is a cat-centric mystery that returns mastermind MacDougal to the center of a new dilemma that requires felines and humans to work together to avert disaster.
Elementary-level libraries looking for attractive leisure reads will find The Missing Cats delightfully whimsical and appealing.
"The Wild Turkeys" (Book 3) A Caitlin & Rio Adventure
$24.99 hardback/ $9.99 paperback/ $3.99 Kindle. Available wherever books are sold. ISBN 978-1-958459-00-3
Check out the links or read the full review below...
The Wild Turkeys, the third book in the Rio and Caitlin series for ages 8-12, again employs a winning combination of look-back summary to inform newcomers, using engaging action to keep prior fans involved in the latest mystery escapade involving the Ragdoll cat Rio and his young entourage.
It's unusual to have the chief investigator be a cat, much less one harboring extraordinary powers of deduction akin to Sherlock Holmes. But Rio is a worthy protagonist who excels in working with his young humans to get at the root of mysterious events.
This time, they involve the sudden appearance of wild turkeys in the neighborhood. Is the flock really watching the house? What are they up to? What if Rio isn't alone in having powers produced by the evil MacDougal's prior efforts?
Though nefarious purposes are at first suspected, Rio, Caitlin, and her best friends Trudie and Molly soon come to find that the wild turkeys have another mission. And it's one the team had better become involved with, lest MacDougal wreak havoc and chaos once again.
As in her previous Rio and Caitlin adventures, Sally Alexander harbors a fine ability to cultivate mystery, peppering it with fantasy and interpersonal interactions that teach kids about psychology and teamwork.
Humorous overtones add elements of fun to the evolving surprises: "Seven wild turkeys stood in the kitchen. Caitlin was glad that the roasting turkey they planned to eat for thanksgiving was in the oven. It seemed rude to be planning to eat a possible relation of their new guests."
Intercultural explorations also occur as Thanksgiving is celebrated by newcomers from Botswana, and environmental issues enter the fray with the observation that the "wild turkey habitat is dwindling."
These elements dovetail to create a story that draws with action, adventure, and mystery, but incorporates auxiliary subjects ranging from problem-solving and teamwork to social and environmental challenges.
Libraries and adults who point the way to The Wild Turkeys will appreciate its special ability to employ action, strong characterization, fantasy, mystery, and humor as it explores issues that arise from newcomers to the neighborhood who offer educational insights on more than one level.
Its appeal to young leisure readers will make all these elements attractive and fun to absorb.