Goodreads: Ra the Mighty
Series: Ra the Mighty Cat Detective #1
Published: September 2018
As Pharoah’s cat, Ra spends his days napping and waiting for his next snack. So he is not pleased when his scarab friend Khepri insists they solve a mystery involving a servant girl falsely accused of stealing a royal amulet. But as Ra starts searching for clues, he begins to realize that being chief detective may not be so bad, after all. Illustrated by Sarah Horne.
Ra the Mighty is a fun lower middle-grade mystery sure to delight readers fond of animal stories. Ra is the spoiled cat of Pharoah, too lazy to do anything but snack and nap. However, when a young girl is falsely accused of stealing a royal amulet, Ra’s dung beetle friend Khepri convinces Ra to take the case. Of course, Ra’s brilliance is hardly admirable; Khepri has most of the epiphanies while Ra stalks blindly about. This formulaic set-up, however, will possibly feel new to the young readers for whom the book is intended.
In the vein of many a lower middle grade book, Ra the Mighty relies a good deal on humor–most of it distinctly, well, a bit juvenile. Much of the humor is at Ra’s expense, as he thinks himself mighty fine, but is clearly not the intellectual who is going to crack this case. Some teasing of unlikable characters occurs when Ra discovers their undignified nicknames, bestowed upon them by humans. And, of course, Khepri’s love of dung is mentioned constantly. This is not the kind of humor I would have enjoyed even when I was in the target age range for this book, but I imagine fans of Wimpy Kid and similar titles will like it.
In general, the book is pretty standard. Nothing really unexpected happens. The real novelty is in reading a mystery where the detective is a cat who can communicate with other animals, but not much with humans. Fortunately, Pharoah’s abode is full of animals, so Ra never runs out of potential witnesses.
Ra the Mighty is an enjoyable mystery, one probably most appeal to readers in third to fifth grade. While older readers will not find it surprising, younger ones might. They will also likely enjoy the animal characters and the humor.