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Viva Cisco by Patrick Shannon
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Viva Cisco

by Patrick Shannon

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The imaginary town of Topopootl lies in a hidden valley of a faraway mountain, deep in the heart of Mexico. This town is filled with animals of all shapes and sizes who live together in harmony away from their human enemy. The story is about Cisco the Parrot , the Answer Man at the Topopootl Public Library, who is bored with his job and wants to be famous. The book is in three parts or short stories which tell about Cisco's adventures with his friends who range from pigs, bears, fish eagles and even cockroaches.

This is a children's book with a unique story based in the forests of Mexico. The characters are vibrant, funny and clever and the skunk story is especially funny. One factor I found inconsistent was that in parts of the book they referred to Cisco's wings as arms, but in other parts it was correct. Other than that I found the stories to be fun and interesting and I think children would like something new for a change. ( )
  sherton | Apr 29, 2011 |
Viva Cisco is a parrot who lives in the valley of Topopootl (sorry, do not know how to say Topopootl). This parrot has a rather large ego and a desire for fame. Unfortunately, his job is at the Topopootl Public Library as The Answer Man. Now, there is nothing wrong with working in a library. I think it would be a wonderful place to be employed. Most every library is quiet, friendly, comfortable and full of books anyone can read. I think Cisco agreed with all of that until his office was moved to the basement where no one could find him. Many of the questions Cisco receives he responses to with really dumb answers, being more concerned about his own sanity than helping the caller. Eventually he goes off to find better attention getting employment.

In the second of three stories, Cisco decides to become a private eye (PI), to solve the growing numbers of burglaries in his village. Topopootl is which usually very peaceful with those that live there generally not wanting for anything. The villagers are scared. Cisco plays PI in order to catch the rat stealing from his village. Along the way he is helped by two friends who are more dimwitted than dead light bulbs or fireflies that have lost their rear-ends. If this were a movie, story two would be partly slap-stick. In the end Cisco was never needed as a PI. The dirty little rat stealing from the villagers was merely a ”collector” from Mexico.

The final story has Cisco and his friends taking on the task of finding Topopootl’s history. The ancient writings, telling the story of the animal’s problems with humans, are uncovered along with an unexpected discovering involving all the skunks. Turns out the skunks in Topopootl are not the little stinkers their biology has us believing.

Mr. Shannon has written very imaginative stories, vividly. At times, he writes a tremendous amount of dialogue in a row which keeps the story moving quickly, but who is speaking can be confusing if not closely paying attention, because of the same quickness. I personally did not like the stories and there is no reason for that except personal preference. Mr. Shannon is a good story teller and he has a vivid imagination. I normally love those two things in a movie and especially in a book. I even like stories with talking animals in a suspended world. There was something that threw me which I find hard to explain. For that reason, check this book of three stories out and decide for yourself.

Received from readthebook.com, courtesy of the author ( )
  smmorris | Apr 27, 2011 |
This trio of children's stories centers on Cisco the Parrot and his sometimes crazy adventures. Cisco lives in Topopootl, an all animal town in a remote Mexican valley where animals dress in clothing, speak freely, and exist most happily without human influence. In the first story in the book, Cisco is the Answer Man at the local library but is unhappy in his job because it doesn't carry the fame he so desperately wants. So he decides that he will find his own fame trying to become a flamenco dancer, a professional wrestler, or set a high flying record. His friends try to dissuade him from his cockamamie ideas but he goes ahead with his escapades anyway only to learn that he needs to find his own strength. The story ends a bit abruptly, hopping immediately into the second story.

In the second story, Cicso would still like to be famous, but not for the mishaps he suffered in the first story. Instead, when it is clear that a thief has come to disturb the peace and steal from the good citizens of Topopootl, Cisco decides to become a PI and collar the criminal. After a false start and crazy accusation, highlighting his lack of impulse control, a hold-over from book one, Cisco actually buckles down to solve the crime and restore goodwill to his town.

The third story finds Cisco feeling fairly happy and enjoying the town's celebration, held every five years, of a festival which has its origins shrouded in the mists of the past. Curious about the history behind this, Cisco finds himself charged with a dangerous journey to bring back the story for all of Topopootl to hear. So he and his friends embark on a dangerous journey that takes them into human territory and ultimately explains the reasons behind the Celebration of the Flowers. This story is longer than the previous two and has more meat to it although with a tad less humor than the others.

The three stories together are cute but the style and tone of writing seems to change with the third story. The subject matter is probably more likely to interest early middle grade readers who might not be able to tackle the vocabulary and the length of the book over all. So the book straddles, a bit uncomfortably, the divide between two different reading audiences. Cisco the Parrot is a bit of a clown and that goofiness should help keep younger readers' attention, even if they are listening to the story rather than reading it independently. I might try handing this off to the early elementary kid who reads beyond his grade level and for whom we have been having a hard time finding appropriate reading material. Could be right up his alley (the brief whiff of potty humor in the final story undoubtedly will entertain him if he holds on that far). ( )
  whitreidtan | Feb 8, 2010 |
This book contains three short stories about the life of Cisco the parrot and all his animal friend of Topopootl. …..
The first story introduces us to Cisco and his gift of words, how he has finally got the job that he thought was perfect for him, the Answer Man at the library, he found himself unhappy. Thinking that the job lacked fame and fortune, he set out to find another line of work. Trying to find his place in the community of Topopootl seemed to be more difficult than he first expected. In fact, wrestling, flamenco dancing, and even soaring high in the sky was much more difficult that he originally thought it would be, but with the help of his friends, he may find the fame he had always wanted in a way that is much more his speed. … Cisco and his friends return in the second story to solve a very interesting mystery of Topopootl’s crime wave that had most of the town nervous and worried about leaving their homes. ….. In the third story Cisco and his friends want to find the true, original reason and meaning for their favored celebration, the Fiesta of Little Flowers and to discover why it is made so special for the skunks. The Word Man really is best at being the Answer Man, he goes to the strangest lengths to solve the mysteries that he finds himself in.

The back of the book is marked as “Nearly true tales of a really cool parrot”, not sure about the nearly true, but the really cool parrot is accurate. While reading this story (out loud to my kids) we discovered that while at first the names were awkward, the fun was just beginning. The crazy antics of Cisco and his assurance that he was on the right track only made it easier to laugh at him when he fell on his face or in the water. While this is mostly just a fun book to read with the kids, it also make a good point (if a little subtle) that you should be ok with yourself as you are and not want to be like others, because it sometimes just doesn’t matter what you want. If you can’t fly high in the sky, you can’t fly that high. ( )
  onyx95 | Dec 27, 2009 |
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