Cleocatra's Kushion (Spartapuss Tales) by Robin Price

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Cleocatra's Kushion (Spartapuss Tales) by Robin Price

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Fairhead
Reviewed by Sue Fairhead
Summary: More excitement and puns, as Spartapuss and his son set out on dangerous adventures in ancient feline times
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Mogzilla
ISBN: 978-1906132071

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Spartapuss is now a wealthy, elderly, rather overweight cat. He is on his way back to Rome from the land of the Kitons. His son - known as SOS (Son of Spartapuss) keeps sending him messages requesting more money. SOS falls in love with the beautiful Haireena, only to have her taken from him as a gift for the emperor's retired gladiator. SOS is sent to Hades Row, and all that can save him is a ransom payment from his father...

The story is written in diary form, alternating between Spartapuss and his son. As with the other books in the series, it's set in ancient times, with the world run by cats rather than humans. Places, customs and practices are familiar to anyone who has studied a little ancient history, and peppered with feline puns. The main languages spoken, for instance, are Catin and Squeak. Towards the end of this book, both Spartapuss and his son, unknown to each other, find themselves travelling to Fleagypt, land of the Purramids and Furraohs.

Pause (or rather, paws) for a groan.

There's plenty of excitement along the way, too: stolen treasure, a speaking frog, magical vases, and an old, rather stained cushion which Spartapuss appears to have bought as a present for his wife. I found the plot a little confusing at times, with the frequent switching of viewpoint, and the fairly large cast. There's a 'dramatis pawsonae' at the start of the book, but it's frustrating to have to refer to it too often. However, there was plenty going on and I managed to keep track on the whole, even if I didn't always remember who was whom.

Not having studied Ancient Egypt for many years, I probably didn't get all the allusions and puns. But a confident reader of about eight or older, studying the Egyptians in school, would probably find this an enjoyable read for a bit of extra background. It's silly enough that it doesn't feel like a history lesson at all. Fun for teenagers and adults with an interest in ancient history too, but (given the format) probably would not work so well as a read-aloud book.

'Cleocatra's Kushion' is fifth in the Spartapuss series. And I'm a little mystified as to why it's called 'A Spartapuss Tale' rather than 'Tail'...

Many thanks to the publishers for sending the book. If you liked this then it would be worth getting hold of the first in the series, I Am Spartapuss, and others in the series by Robin Price.

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