Rico’s Fripp Island Adventure is a charming storybook written by Mary Jacobs, with beautiful illustrations by Alycia Pace.
It’s summer vacation and cousins, Sara, Sally, and Bucky have arrived on Fripp Island to spend two weeks with their grandparents and their friend, Big Daddy, a raccoon. Big Daddy announces that he’s invited his cousin Rico to visit. When Rico finally arrives, the cousins are there to greet him. They split up a short time later, but instead of Rico meeting up with the cousins as planned, he disappears, forcing the others to form a search party to look for him…
Although Rico’s Fripp Island Adventure delivers an important life lesson in accountability, Jacobs nevertheless nicely balances this by hinting at a “secret” – although the secret is never actually revealed. Pace’s pastel-hued illustrations are rich and underscore the vivid colors of island life, and the faces of the children, raccoons, and adults are all sweetly expressive.
While the constant references to a “secret” will certainly whet a child’s natural curiosity, not revealing what the secret is may cause frustration for a young reader. Furthermore, while there is specific mention that Rico had “not mastered the English language,” Rico’s perfect colloquial dialogue suggests otherwise. Despite these small discrepancies, Rico’s Fripp Island Adventure is a fun story, as the children search around the island, with a cheerful happy ending.