The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta: The Perplexing Pineapple

This book wins the Barnaby Book Club prize for the longest book title ever!

The case IS perplexing! It really DOES have cryptic clues! And best of all – GUINEA PIGS!

The book is engaging on many levels. Set in Buenos Aires the book has a lovely spattering of Spanish words with a glossary at the back. Ursula Dubosarsky infuses the story with a strong back story to the characters  Coco, The chief of police and his logic loving cousin Alberta. This teamed with delicate and whimsical Terry Denton illustrations means there is much for the children to nibble and spy and read and puzzle over .

Older readers will enjoy the puns and puzzles. Reluctant readers will be sucked in by the humorous illustrations and challenge of the mystery! There are codes, mazes and spoonerisms to enjoy. It’s an active book – read, turn to the glossary, look, hold the book up to the mirror, think.

Best of all there is a whole series of these books!


The Barnabies were VERY fortunate to receive this letter from the Author Ursula Dubosarsky HERSELF!:

Dear Barnaby Book Club,

How very HAPPY (and even squeaky!) I am that you are reading The Perplexing Pineapple. I hope you are finding it JUICY and PUZZLING.  Like a delicious piece of fruit that you are not quite sure what it is….

Aren’t Terry Denton’s pictures fantastic?  I start laughing whenever I look at his drawings of Coco and Alberta. He told me that guinea pigs are very very hard to draw. Have you every tried? I would love to see any drawings of guinea pigs that you do!

I love guinea pigs very much. I have had guinea pigs since I was your age. The first two were called Bubbles and Popcorn, and I think that’s where the personalities of Coco and Alberta come from.

I also love puzzles and mysteries! that is why there are so many puzzles and mysteries in this book. I even like puzzles that I can’t work out – I guess I must like feeling mystified. I like wondering about them.

Probably the world seems pretty mysterious to a guinea pig. Well, if I was a guinea pig I think I would spend my time wondering what on earth was happening but maybe real guinea pigs don’t wonder at all, they just get on with running and munching and hiding and SQUEALING when they are really hungry!

I have attached some more puzzles you can do with Coco and Alberta – join the dots and spot the difference and things like that.

If you look on my website  and scroll down to “guinea pig detectives” on the left hand column, you will find a poem, a story and lots of other guineapiggy things there.

For example, here are some crazy  photos to click on of Alberta in Buenos Aires in Argentina a few years ago –

Do write back to me if you would like to! I would love to hear from you.

Squeaky and squirmy happy reading wishes from Ursula Dubosarsky  ABOUT OTHER BOOKS I HAVE WRITTEN WITH GUINEA PIGS IN THEM

Wow! How lucky are we at Barnaby Book Club??? Stay tuned for more….


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