Coco is the Chief of Police at Buenos Aires and works high up in the Obelisco Tower. The special flavour of the Buenos Aires setting lingers in the air as our lovable detectives Coco and Alberta the guinea pigs strive to solve a mystery. Coco believes his tower is haunted because every day when he glances out his window he sees what appears to be a giant floating pineapple. And every day while watching the pineapple float across the sky, he hears a terrible groaning noise, followed by hysterical cackling laughter. He turns to his sensible, logic-loving cousin Alberta for help. Together, they solve the mystery of the pineapple and catch a robber or two while at it.

If you can get your mouth round the name “Coco Carlomagno” (that’s Carlomagno, not Carlomango) this book will be an enjoyable little detective story! Coco’s rather too quick-to-judge character is balanced by the more sensible Alberta. Children will be encouraged not to be too hasty judging who is to blame in situations, while using their logic and reasoning skills in a fun way. Illustrations by Terry Denton add to the bright and easily recognisable style, something children will want to pick up.

Part activity book, part word puzzle with secret language codes, the story is short and amusing – not a literary work of art, but the kind of thing that both a reluctant reader or more advanced child may read. There are clocks to work out time in different parts of the world, “spot” the robbers in the pictures, and many other puzzles throughout the story. Letter codes will have children going back over the book to find new details and have fun solving the mystery all over again!

There is some Spanish vocabulary, but children will not even know they are doing the work to find their meanings. On the contrary, they will want to check the handy glossary just for the fun of it! All in all, a light easy reading book with an amusing theme.

A former children’s librarian, Jane Fagan is currently a full-time mother of two.