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Figaro and Rumba and the Crocodile Cafe    by Anna Fienberg & Stephen Michael King order for
Figaro and Rumba and the Crocodile Cafe
by Anna Fienberg
Order:  USA  Can
Allen & Unwin, 2014 (2014)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Figaro and Rumba are a dog and cat that met in Cuba. Down on his luck, Rumba returned to the U.S. with Figaro and the two now live together. In this chapter book young readers will follow a series of short adventures involving these two friends.

First, the two do a little house cleaning (especially of their filthy windows) and then they assist a friend whose canoe sinks in a nearby river. Actually, as things turn out, Figaro is the one who ends up needing some help.

Poor Figaro has even more problems when he sleeps on his leg incorrectly and it goes numb. Then he has to share his amazing dream about being swallowed by a whale.

Finally, the main adventure in the book begins with the two friends getting a ride on Mrs. Foozy's motor bike to the train station where they plan to catch a 'very fast train'. On the train they share a compartment with a conga drum playing crocodile who turns out to be a rather nasty piece of work.

It turns out the croc kidnaps cats and he has some evil plans for Rumba until Figaro intervenes by calling in the authorities to put an end to the croc's illicit activities.

There's a lot happening in this humorous chapter book that should keep even the most reluctant reader interested in following this duo's misadventures. The vocabulary in manageable and the illustrations provide visual clues to what is happening on almost every page. There's real content, unlike in some readers, to this book so the child will have a sense of accomplishment when he/she finishes reading it.

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