The port city of Riga is a city which always remains unfinished, and according to myth; anyone declaring ‘Riga is ready’ would cause the city to be drowned by its river, the Daugava. Jacob has led a sheltered life, living with his dad, in the city centre. Jacob is fascinated with the city and spends much time drawing maps of his surroundings. When his dad’s business runs into trouble, Jacob is left with his colourful uncle Eagle and his fearsome cousin Mimi in the shabby and interesting Maskatchka district, while his dad leaves to sort his affairs. As Jacob gets to know his new surroundings, he meets the talking dogs of the area and discovers a plot to gentrify the district by building skyscrapers all over the local parks and demolishing the old local houses. A rollicking adventure ensues, as Jacob, Mimi and the dogs set out to defeat this dastardly plot.
The story is told with humour and a few twists and surprises as the city of Riga comes to life on the pages. The illustrations of Jacob’s idiosyncratic maps, of human and canine characters and the city itself are superb.
While this is a story that will be enjoyed by independent readers of eight and over, there is plenty to appeal to an adult reading with a child as the humour transcends all ages.