Everyone who has ever owned, loved and perhaps lost a beloved pet will love reading Fauna Park Tales, because most of the adventures are based on true events, woven into the plot to make a coherent whole. Even though this series is fictitious, it draws attention to the plight of wild birds and touches on issues such as preservation of natural resources and habitats, the risk of fires and dealing with droughts or floods, depending on the time of year.
Mmokolodi Village – Kweneng – Botswana begins approximately 4 miles from the highway. This area inspired the setting for Fauna Park Tales – a free-range cattle farm in the Molodi valley, surrounded by the Llokodi Hills to the west and Molapo Lake to the east – situated next to a small game reserve. There is a small lake nearby, where many birds such as African fish eagles find a safe haven. Clear blue skies, warm days and lack of rain leads to overgrazed grasslands when even the young trees are cut down for firewood.
The stories are told by an elusive bird-of-prey. So the way the animals and birds see things often leads to confusion and hilarious situations which mostly have favourable outcomes as they stick to The Promise – protecting and caring for vulnerable bush creatures.
Right from the beginning a plot unfolds which runs throughout the series. As events unfold, the reader is introduced to a desert pup who has a promise to keep and quest to fulfil. He and his friends set up a secret bird and animals sanctuary called Fauna Park. There, they would find many friends and face a few foes – the most dangerous being certain humans who have their own agenda. The book has stand-alone chapters such as A Timid Lab’ora’tree Rat or Facing a Martial Eagle which are ideal to be read to younger listeners at bedtime while also enjoying the illustrations. However, this series is aimed at better readers (9-13) who still enjoy illustrations along with a text of approximately 20,000 words.
Here follows a short prologue to Flame and Hope: An African Adventure – Fauna Park Tales 1
A tracker and his wife live a simple nomadic life on the outskirts of a desert in Mua-Mua. There they set up a temporary kraal every year during the dry season, but they always keep to themselves. Now and then, their son and daughter-in-law come to visit. All of them have kept their family’s secret safe – only the furry and feathered bush creatures know about it, but that year would be different. Not only does their light-brown dog have a litter of five puppies, but they also meet their little grand-daughter for the first time. Then too, on a bright starry night, they hear cattle bellowing far into the desert – an unusual occurrence for that time of year. How could they foresee that a gang of poachers led by a mysterious tall leader would force them into a situation against their will and that the outcome would be tragic?
The light-brown dog and her five pups safely at their humans’ kraal. One small pup all alone in the vast Kalughari
Here is a short prequel which clarifies events of the second chapter – Life in the Kalughari. (A fictitious name for a semi-desert in this series as voiced in Faunalang, the bush creatures’ language).
A young mother laughs out loud as she lifts her baby girl high above her head, saying ‘Listen to her! My little Lera already tries to speak to the bush creatures. Look over there! Not only our cows, goats and chickens are coming closer every time she makes a sound. Even wild birds and small desert creatures are just outside our fence, trying to hear what she says. I had hoped she would be spared, but Great Spirit Modimo (Almighty God) made sure she inherited the first-born daughter’s great gift to speak the bush creatures’ language. Now, we have a duty to protect her from evil people who might want to steal her, and use her gift against us and the bush creatures.’