CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 14 . . . . December 2, 2011
Dead Bird through the Cat Door begins with -- wait for it! -- a dead bird brought in through the cat door by the twin's cat! After funeral rites (for the bird that is; the cat is forgiven for being true to her nature) have been observed, the twins attempt to take their minds off the mishap by biking out to the nearby bird sanctuary where they see the director of the centre inciting his own cat to kill yet another bird! "One down, three thousand to go," he says. This behaviour makes no sense to Jane and Cyd, our 12-year-old mystery hounds, and they dive, or fly, into solving the puzzle which has so suddenly fallen into their lives. In a riotous mixture of Macbeth quotations, odd scientific facts, the good effects of pet-visiting in senior-citizen housing, cat shows, and wild-life sanctuaries, the twins sleuth their way to a solution to the mystery, foiling the bad guys and saving their cat from the villains' hands.
Does this sound a bit unlikely? Of course, but it's all part of the fun. Jane and Cyd put all their deductions onto their blog, get away with blatant snoopiness, have very stupid -- although intellectual and scientific -- parents, and very soft hearts, especially Jane. Cyd makes a great show of being the pragmatic, hard-headed, older (by two minutes) twin, but she, too, gets caught up in saving the birdies from the evil grown-ups. Of course, they do just that, with the exception of the unfortunate birds killed when the stolen cats are released en masse, but that kind of slips by. Cats will be cats, after all. All this is accomplished in a rip-roaring, punny manner that I suspect nine-to-eleven-year-olds will find irresistible. Older kids, maybe not. I found it got a bit wearing, but then, I've not been 11 for some time. Jan Markley has her target audience firmly in her sights, and for them, she hits right in the gold.
Now retired, Mary Thomas lives in Winnipeg, MB, and looks forward to her grandkids getting to the YA stage of reading.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.