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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ARC Arrival: Viva Cisco


Viva Cisco by Patrick Shannon

Publisher: Outskirts Press

I received this book from the author through Bostick Communications.

About the book: Author Patrick Shannon has released a delightful new book in the tradition of Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows, and the stories of Uncle Remus-a book that offers plenty of wholesome fun for youngsters in that "in between" age of 10 to 13. Viva Cisco is a trilogy of funny stories, with humor "cool" enough to appeal, and tales that read as if they were animated films, a winning combination for the tweener set. Parents will appreciate the subtle yet unmistakable message that urges a population of infinite variety to get along with each other.

In Viva Cisco, all three tales unfold in a mythical land called Topopootl, which lies in a hidden valley deep in the heart of Mexico. Because of its seclusion, the creatures of Topopootl have created a society without the benefit of human contact-and they don't seem to have missed out on anything important. In fact, they seem to have more merriment and boisterous excitement than any human community could conceive. Much of the credit for that, however, must be laid at the feet of Topopootl's most.uh.stimulating citizen, one Cisco las Verde Arara del Gucigalpa: aka Cisco the Parrot.

His is an ego burning brightly, and his quest is for nothing less than becoming the most notable dude in all Topopootl. In "Am I Famous Yet?" he wends his fractured way from being the Answer Man at the public library, through a public failure in "Show Biz," a humiliating defeat in Anything Goes Wrestling (at the hands of two little cockroaches), a "Mayday" attempt at a high-altitude record for parrots, and finally to opening a very weird business: The Word Man, whose motto is: "Learn a big word and impress your friends."

In "Cisco, PI," he combines the skills of Inspector Clouseau and Barney Fife, tackling Topopootl's first and only crime wave, a series of burglaries that turn out to be the work of Harry the Packrat, a creature who traveled from North America to put together a "Mexican collection." This is his plea as he is brought before the citizens of Topopootl: "It wasn't stealing. It was collecting." Cisco manages to solve this case only after committing a huge blunder-fingering the president of Topopootl as the godfather of a crime family.

Finally, in "Cisco and the Secret Room," our hero leads four of his pals on a dangerous mission to retrieve ancient evidence of Topopootl's origins. In a secret room in the heart of a mysterious pyramid, they discover the story of how Topopootl came into existence. The inscriptions on the wall tell the story of how the Aztecs and Spaniards made the lands uninhabitable for the non-human population, who were then forced to find a place of refuge and peace-Topopootl. The walls tell how the city nearly faced extinction from human invasion and how a remarkable army of little skunks saved the day-and Topopootl.

The three stories of Viva Cisco are perfectly designed to become feature-length animated films. and their message, lightly buried under adventure and dry humor, promotes individuality, eccentricity, and a wide range of points of view. The citizens of Topopootl feel free to have a good healthy spat now and then, but would never even contemplate letting things get ugly. There is a subliminal example here for humans who, when they can't find obvious differences in their own species, manufacture them. Not a bad message for youngsters only a few years from adulthood. (from publicity email)

About the author: Patrick Shannon is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Thirty-three years with a major oil company brought him rich experiences from traveling in the United States, Asia, and the Middle East. Born and raised in Southern California, Shannon attended UCLA and East Carolina and Oklahoma universities.

Viva Cisco
Publisher/Publication Date: Outskirts Press, April 16, 2009
ISBN: 978-1432730376
253 pages

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