Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Bushbabies by William Stevenson

The first half of this book pulls much material from the actual experience of the author who lived in several exotic foreign places with his wife and children. They were fascinated by the local wildlife and animals they adopted in these locales, and this interest is reflected in the story, much to the reader’s enjoyment.

Like the author’s family, the family in Bushbabies has a young girl named Jackie who has bonded with an exotic African creature, a bushbaby, and the family struggles frantically to get a permit to take him with them when they have to leave.

They do get the permit, and then board a ship to head home to England. The permit appears to be lost. At this point, the story diverges from the real-life experience. Due to a series of events, Jackie ends up on the dock as the ship departs. She finds Tembo, her father’s assistant and convinces him to help her trek across the wildlife reservation of Kenya in order to return the bushbaby to its original environment where, she is sure, it has the best chance of survival.

Due to the above-mentioned series of unfortunate events, Tembo, the faithful friend of the family, has been mistaken for a kidnapper, and he and Jackie have to elude capture as they race through the African wild, pursued by drought, thirsty creatures, and officials intent on Tembo’s capture.

In the urban environment, Jackie , the book-learner, holds the leadership role. In the bush, that role shifts to Tembo, who has much to teach her from the school of bush-learning.

It is a wild adventure, an uplifting story, and a journey of discovery. I especially loved the rich description of African life: mammals, insects, and scenery. The relationship of respect between Jackie and Tembo is also instructive.

It deserves the high safety rating, although with tweens, especially young ones, I would alert parentsand encourage them to discuss and help their tweens gain perspective on Tembo’s belief system. He has begun to learn of the one true God, which he accepts. At the same time, despite the contradiction, he believes in his tribal gods. The book is quite realistic and helps to put this in context, but tweens could use your input.



Grace'n'Chaos September 1, 2011 at 7:44 AM  

I just bookmarked you. Thanks so much for having this site. I just found this book at my library used book sales and looked like a nice living book my 11 yr old would enjoy. I was so glad to see a Catholic mom has already reviewed it.

I hope you can stop by and visit my blog sometime.

Blessings, Jenny

Anonymous,  September 2, 2011 at 5:23 AM  

I'd like to visit your blog! Just let me grab a cup of coffee...

(I still can't figure out how to comment at my own I remain anonymous)

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