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Petscapade is the story of four girls and a boy, 9 years old, who form a mystery book club. When a purebred kitten goes missing they decide to use their knowledge to solve the mystery of whether the cat has wandered off or been stolen. The novel starts out quite slowly and the reader needs to show patience as this is a gently paced book. The cover fails to inform or interest the reader.
About a quarter of the way through the novel I discovered it was taking place in Sri Lanka. I’m not sure if I missed that indicator earlier on. It’s important to realize this as the way that children speak is unusually articulate and adult for 9 year olds.
“Yes, it is rather,” agreed Lal, with a grin.
There are several cultural behaviors that may strike North Americans as unusual if they are not aware of the context. For example, the children are not allowed to bring fiction books to school to read and their social interactions are strictly controlled. Once the reader realizes the environment, it becomes quite intriguing to learn new customs and terms.
The story is told in a straightforward manner with little emotion. However, There are moments of humor.
Cara laughed. “If every grumpy person is a criminal, we would all be in jail!”
The author doesn’t shy away from controversial viewpoints.I think this book should launch some interesting discussions about our abysmal treatment of animals such as supporting pet stores, eating meat, and abandoning pets.
I’m not sure political remarks belong in a book for 9 year olds though.
“And she is Tamil…” Amal broke off.
There is one beautiful paragraph that will give food for thought.
“I have taught my son that sometimes, you need to intervene to help others. I don’t believe in sitting on the sidelines watching the world fall apart. Children must be taught to take whatever action they can to make the world a better place.”
The case of the missing cat, which turns out to be cats actually, is resolved positively even though the children are discouraged and sometimes condemned for their actions in trying to locate the missing kitten. The lesson of perseverance is worthwhile.