Title: A Scaly Tale
Author: Kara Wilkins
Publisher: Ripley Publishing
Release Date: May 2010
Length: 125 pages
Series?: Ripley Bureau of Investigation #1
The Florida swamplands are home to hungry gators, wild electrical storms, and a most unusual creature. Sightings of a strange lizard-like animal reach Ripley High and the RBI are sent to investigate. During their search, the RBI agents find themselves in the middle of a high-speed airboat chase, a swarm of rats, a mysterious treasure hunt, and DUL agents in disguise. But then that’s nothing unusual when you’re a member of the RBI!
***** Review *****
This is the first in the Ripley Bureau of Investigation series, also known as RBI: Fact or Fiction?. The RBI team is made up of a group of teenagers with a wide range of abilities and talents that are quite extraordinary. They are members of the elite and top secret RBI team at their school, Ripley High School, which is located in the home of Robert Ripley (creator of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!) on an island off of the East Coast.
The RBI team operates in similar fashion to that of the pals of Scooby Doo, except there’s no dog and only a few investigators are sent on each mission. The selection process for each mission is grounded in the student’s talents and abilities. Those who have the best to offer for each mission are the ones who are sent. Their objective for each mission is to investigate, gather information and determine if it is fact or fiction.
In this first installment, the investigators are sent to the swamplands of Florida to uncover the mystery surrounding the strange reports of a lizard-like man. Jack, Zia and Kobe are all assigned to comb the Everglades for another sighting of the larger-than-life lizard.
Jack is a 14 year-old from Australia. He grew up on an animal park and has an uncanny bond with animals. He can “talk” with any creature.
Zia is a 13 year-old girl who was the only survivor of a tropical storm that destroyed her village. She was a baby then, and as a result of the storm she now has a white streak of hair among her dark locks. She doesn’t fully understand her abilities, but she can predict (and sometimes control) the weather, as well as having magnetic and electrical powers.
Kobe is a 15 year-old boy who is the product of two African tribes. He has excellent tracking abilities and is an expert on native cultures around the world. His most illustrious talent, though, is his telepathic abilities: he can tell the entire history of a person or object simply by touching it!
Before setting out, the gang is briefed on some high-tech and clever devices designed by their own teacher, Dr. Maxwell, who is the only faculty member who is privy to RBI. Along the way, they run into some devious and dangerous DUL agents who pursue them on airboats through the swampland. The RBI agents get bombarded by a swarm of rats, run into a treasure hunt and at last discover the lizard man.
The book includes a breakdown of all the characters in the book, along with their skills and special notes. There is a map of Ripley High School and other cool graphics relating to the investigation throughout the book. The author has set up the book in such a way that it could easily be transitioned into a TV show, with much of the technology-based devices and messages at the ready.
The dialogue and action are what make this book! I love the team of agents sent on this mission, and how they all work together to support one another. They are fully involved in solving the mission they have been sent on. This is a great example of teamwork and covers some history, culture and geography related to the region.