- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 29, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1479222380
- ISBN-13: 978-1479222384
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
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Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle
With this book, Kiwi takes a giant pounce forward as a literary treasure."
About the Author
Vickie Johnstone lives in London, where she works as a freelance sub-editor on business magazines and editor/proofreader on books. She has a thing about fluffy cats and also loves reading, writing, films, the sea, art, nature, white chocolate and travelling. In 2011, Vickie self-published the following books: Kaleidoscope (March) – 119 poems, divided by chapter themes; Travelling Light – a small, free book of poetry; Kiwi in Cat City – the first in a series about a magical cat and her human pals (April); Kiwi and the Missing Magic (June); Kiwi and the Living Nightmare (October). The Kiwi books have illustrations by Nikki McBroom. Books published in 2012, so far: Day of the Living Pizza – a comedy horror for ages 10 up; all profits to charity (May); Life’s Rhythms – a collection of 316 haiku (June); 3 Heads and a Tail – a romantic comedy with walkies, written for NaNoWriMo (June); Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle (August); Day of the Pesky Shadow (October); and Kiwi in the Realm of Ra (November). Links: Blog: http://vickiejohnstone.blogspot.com Twitter: @vickiejohnstone Website: Kiwiincatcity.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorVickieJohnstone http://www.facebook.com/KiwiinCatCity http://www.facebook.com/KaleidoscopePoetry http://www.facebook.com/VickieJohnstoneEditing --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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In book four, many of the characters from the other three Kiwi books take part in the new adventure. It had been a while since I read the other books so I was unfamiliar with a couple of the characters. That problem was easily solved by the bits of back story Vickie provided to re-introduce them. I would recommend reading the other books before this one so you get all the details of the past experiences Kiwi and crew had been through in order to truly appreciate the story.
Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle is very well written and edited and is a delight to read. I will not tell what the book is about since that is covered in other reviews. I strongly suggest you read it and find out for yourself.
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 been growing 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 catizens, 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's 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!