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Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite
Cat Detectives in the Korean Peninsula by R. F. Kristi is about a Siberian cat named Inca and her detective team. Lavishly illustrated by Jorge Valle, the story is set in South Korea, where the detective team goes with its human, Mom, who has been selected as a judge for a patisserie competition. The group is very smart and varied and each member is delightfully characterized. In Korea, the first task is to find Mom’s cheese bag, which a competitor has stolen at the airport. Then, they befriend their guide Ye-Jun and his dog and discover that Ye-Jung’s sister lives in North Korea with her cat, Bo-Ming. As Ye-Jung misses his sister terribly, Inca and her team decide to reunite them. In a risky nocturnal expedition, they cross the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a buffer zone between North and South Korea.
Cat Detectives in the Korean Peninsula is one of those books that every child should read. It is instructive, adventurous, and funny. It is also finely illustrated with colorful and cheerful images. Kristi writes with a lively style and makes intelligent, witty remarks throughout the book. Some of them are ironic, but others refer to more significant values. The notes about the delicate situation between North and South Korea convey an important message about the preservation of peace. In our time, when this concept is very under-reported, the fact that someone has included it in a children's book is admirable. On the whole, Cat Detectives in the Korean Peninsula is an enjoyable story that treats children as thinking beings.