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Nearly true tales of a really cool parrot
"Viva Cisco" is a trilogy of funny stories for kids at the Age 10-13 reading level. All three tales unfold in a land called Topopootl, which lies in a hidden valley deep in the heart of Mexico. Because of its seclusion, the inhabitants have created a society without the benefit of human contact, and they don't seem to have missed out on anything important in the absence of that dubious blessing. In fact, they probably have more pure merriment and boisterous excitement ...
Nearly true tales of a really cool parrot
"Viva Cisco" is a trilogy of funny stories for kids at the Age 10-13 reading level. All three tales unfold in a land called Topopootl, which lies in a hidden valley deep in the heart of Mexico. Because of its seclusion, the inhabitants have created a society without the benefit of human contact, and they don't seem to have missed out on anything important in the absence of that dubious blessing. In fact, they probably have more pure merriment and boisterous excitement than any human community could ever conceive. Much of the credit for that, though, 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 in Topopootl's public library, through a very 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.- The reader is sure to be spellbound as Cisco makes the sale of one of his Deluxe models: the word, "extracurricular" - a big impresser.
In "Cisco-PI", he combines the skills of Inspector Clouseau and Barney Fife in tackling Topopootl's first and only crime wave, a rash of burglaries. In a dazzling display of illogical thinking, he manages to accuse some innocent youngsters of being members of a crime family, and he fingers none other than Topopootl's President as their Godfather. Even by Cisco standards, it is a stunning blunder.
But he musters his will, applies his nimble brain to some very mysterious clues, and actually solves the case. The burglaries, it turns out, were all the work of Harry the Pack Rat, who traveled down from North America to put together a "Mexican Collection." That, in fact, is his plea as he is brought before the citizens of Topopootl "It wasn't stealing. It was collecting."
In this, the second book of the trilogy, Cisco is redeemed and achieves his coveted recognition, which serves to make him a worthy leader in the daring adventure that follows.
"Cisco and the Secret Room", Book Three, has Cisco leading four of his pals on a very 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 and who saved it from extinction.
As they read the inscriptions on the walls of the remarkable chamber, a tale unfolds of the Aztecs and Spaniards making the land unlivable for its non-human inhabitants; of a desperate expedition to find a place of refuge and peace; of the founding of Topopootl; of the threat of its extinction by a human invasion; finally, of the remarkable army of little skunks who save the day-and Topopootl-only by employing their secret weapon: El Gordo.
Posted December 7, 2011
Viva Cisco is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, and New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 27, 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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 27, 2009
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.
Posted August 19, 2009
I grew up with a great passion for reading. On many sunny afternoons, you would be able to find me perched in some tree branches in my front yard reading Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables. The places that my imagination would go as the result of the words on a page formed some of my favorite childhood memories. Now that I am a mother of a young son and daughter, I am hoping that they will find the same happiness in books that I continue to experience to this day. I sometimes worry that, in the age of constant television viewing and video game playing, kids do not get the chance to develop a real passion for books. Therefore, when a book comes along that I believe will engage a child's imagination, I take heart that the written word might actually win out over the latest Wii game or social website. I have found such a book in Viva Cisco by author Patrick Shannon. In this three-part fantasy tale, Shannon creates a vivid world through which young readers can stretch their imaginations, maybe even while spending the afternoon sitting in a tree.
Viva Cisco shares the adventures of Cisco the Parrot, who lives in the land of Topopootl surrounded by a colorful cast of characters from every imaginable species . except humans! Shannon provides his readers with three separate tales detailing Cisco's efforts to become famous, from trying to learn Flamenco dancing and becoming a professional wrestler to starting a detective agency and leading a dangerous mission to discover the story behind the founding of his homeland. Along the way, Cisco seeks the advice of the elder animals and various skilled professionals in Topopootl, who approach his wild ideas with both sympathy and doubt. However, we quickly learn that Cisco is a bird who is not easily deterred from his dreams.
Patrick Shannon creates a fantasy world that offers amazing imagery for his readers. While there are no illustrations in Viva Cisco other than the front cover, I quickly began to picture bold colors and exaggerated backdrops as I turned the pages of this engaging book. Of course, when you start with the premise of talking animals, you already set the stage for an interesting mental picture! The personalities in Viva Cisco also are over-the-top caricatures, which is perfect for a children's book. The running movie that developed in my head as I was reading Viva Cisco is directly attributable to the strength of Shannon's writing. He uses animated language during conversations and employs sarcasm, humor, and outlandish scenarios to keep readers both young and old engaged with every page.
Viva Cisco offers young readers a story and a set of characters that they will not have encountered before. Instead of simply being another book that attempts to copy an already successful format in hopes of attracting the loyal readers of another author, Shannon brings us something completely original. The starring personality of Cisco the parrot, the outlandish ideas that he attempts with amusing results in his efforts to be famous and the final adventure that finally brings him the accolades he craves will keep children and their parents turning the pages. With the impressive ambitions and energy of Cisco, I believe that more stories of this memorable parrot may be in our future.
Posted August 13, 2009
What might you do if you were a parrot who lived in a paradise-like valley and wanted more than anything else to become famous? Cisco is a parrot who dwells in Topopootl, a magical valley deep in Mexico where there are no humans, all the animals live in peace and can talk, and there is an abundance of Burrito trees, Taco vines, and Tamale bushes. The story of Cisco is divided into three books. In Book One, he is the Answer Man at the Topopootl Public Library, but his single, burning ambition is fame. He tries to find it by dancing Flamenco with his Javelina friend Jose Paco, learning to wrestle from Awful Alfredo the Wrestling Monkey, and flying higher than any other parrot with Aquila the Eagle. But why doesn't anything ever seem to work out as Cisco wants? In Book Two, there is a rash of burglaries in normally crime-free Topopootl, so Cisco now seeks his fame by becoming a private eye and, after several humorous missteps, actually solves the crime. Or was it really a crime after all? In Book Three, Cisco wonders why all the skunks in the surrounding territory are invited to help the residents of Topopootl celebrate the Fiesta of the Little Flowers. No one can answer his question, but Old Parrot sends him and his friends, Jose Paco, Benito the Jackrabbit, Juan the Black Bear, and Alfonso the Coatimundi on a long and dangerous mission to find the long forgotten story, preserved in a secret room of a strange pyramid, about how Topopootl came to be. And, you may wonder, exactly what did skunks have to do with it? Viva Cisco is a wacky kind of book that will have kids rolling on the floor and may cause even world-weary adults to smile. For my personal taste, there are just a few too many common euphemisms--not only heck, golly, gee, dang, blast, and darn, but also "omigosh," "consarn it," and even one "godawful," along with a lot of other pop culture type language. Undoubtedly this was used to make it appealing to middle school aged readers, who will likely find it very funny. Having said that, I still enjoyed reading the book myself. I found it a little slow going in the beginning, but it picks up quickly, and Book Three has an especially interesting plot that will keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. The book would probably make a great animated cartoon.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2009
Fables have been a time honored way to teach both children and adults. Since Aesop, those witty stories with both wise and foolish animals making the same mistakes humans make have both entertained and enlightened. The stories of Cisco the parrot in the book, Viva Cisco, are an excellent addition to the genre.
These three stories center around a parrot named Cisco who doesn't ask for much in life. He simply wants to be famous! He knows that he is the perfect candidate for stardom if he could only find his talent. The first book tells of his quest for his true gift and it takes him all through the town to all his friends, trying to learn a skill that will bring him fame. Needless to say, hilarity follows.
Book two shows us a wiser but still determined parrot. When a rash of thefts plagues the humanless valley of Topopootl, Cisco's home, he decides to becomes a private eye and solve the case. Surely that will bring him fame! Our friend Cisco gets carried away as usual, finding embarrassment instead of glory. However, he doesn't quit and finally discovers something amazing.
Book Three gives us the greatest tale yet. Cisco wonders why the valley of Topopootl always gives the skunks surrounding the valley a party. Such information is worthy of a great quest to find the truth, so Cisco and his friends head out. As with most great quests, there is much to learn and overcome, but it is worthy of glory and isn't that what Cisco wants?
This book is entertaining for parents and kids alike. Cisco is a teenager, an entertaining age. Kids look up to teenagers and they find a wonderfully flawed hero in our little friend. He is old enough to earn their admiration but not too old to be considered boring. Cisco does the things they think are cool and both he and the kids learn the lessons from the results.
Adult will laugh over and over again at the antics of Cisco. He will remind them of the good old days when hair-brained ideas sounded not only possible but probable. They will understand both the little parrot's need for fame and the lessons he has to learn. Now, separated by time and wisdom, adults will enjoy revisiting that carefree age.
This book is a wonderful read for parents and kids to share together. While enjoying the tales, there can be a meeting of the minds of two very different groups.