21/11/2010

Cleocatra's Kushion (by Robin Price)

I knew nothing of Robin Price until I was sent two of his books for children to review, from The Bookbag. One of them, 'I am Spartapuss', was the first in a series of 'Spartapuss Tales' (I feel it ought to be 'Tails...') which feature diary-format adventures of brave cats in the Ancient Feline empire.

'Cleocatra's Kushion' is the fifth in the series. Brief summaries of the others are given in the first pages, but it isn't necessary to have read any of them. There's a 'dramatis pawsonae' next, explaining the main characters of the book; I didn't find them as confusing as I did in 'I am Spartapuss', but there were still rather a lot, and the cast-list was useful,even if it's a bit annoying to have to refer to it to remember who somebody is.

This book alternates between the diaries of Spartapuss and his son. The latter is a rather wild youth, who falls in love with the somewhat unsuitable Haireena, and then finds himself in jail. The only way out, he believes, is with a ransom from his wealthy father... little does he know that Spartapuss is having his own adventures.

I did get a bit lost sometimes; the pace is fast and the viewpoint switches sometimes confusing. But it's a great romp, mostly through Ancient Fleagypt, where - unknown to each other - both Spartapuss and his son are having similar experiences.

The puns are dreadful, the humour decidedly juvenile, but none the worse for that. Ideal for children of about eight and up who read fluently, and have some interest in Ancient Egypt.

You can also read my longer review of Cleocatra's Kushion at the Bookbag site. 

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