Today I want to say thank you to all readers of An African Adventure: Flame and Hope – FAUNA PARK TALES book 1. The original 210-page book was released on the 14th of August 2014 and in its present black-and-white illustrated format, about six months later. My writing career has been a journey of discovery thus far, but I’m delighted to have received 16 reviews for my flagship since then.
There are many challenges as far as book marketing goes and finally, I’m beginning to realise just how difficult it is for children’s authors on Amazon. Obtaining reviews at the best of times is difficult, but children’s authors have the extra bits, the extra rocks, or . . . extra mountains as obstacles in their quest to get reviews. You might ask, What is she talking about?
I’m talking about the fact that the very ones we write for cannot tell us directly how they feel. They can only do so via their parents, grandparents, older siblings, carers or teachers – the adults in their lives – mostly busy with life’s ups and downs. Therefore, finding time to write a review on behalf of their children, becomes more challenging whichever way one looks at it.
Here are a few excerpts from 2016 – positive reviews – which I hope you might want to read at the book page itself at:
10th January – “What a wonderful story, a bit sad at times, but all in all a great tale told from the perspective of Flame aka ‘Jack Old Boy’.”
6th March – “An engaging story told in well-crafted prose. Ideal material . . . enhanced by high-quality illustrations. If you and your child love animals and adventure . . . then this book is sure to appeal.”
17th March – “Good read. When I have kids of my own, I reckon they’ll love Maretha’s Fauna Park series.”
28th June – “Just finished reading . . . all I can say is WOWSERS! I loved every word of this book . . . drags you into every page. If you’ve got a tween in your life and they love animals then get this book for them!”
4th July – This is a critical review from a well-know children’s author, so no excerpts.
“Having lived in southern Africa on the edge of a game reserve, Maretha Botha has first-hand experience of life in the region, and draws upon it to inform her stories. She is a champion of conservation, and keen to help young ones appreciate the importance of looking out for, and seeing the plight of many creatures, especially those in the wild.
Though this is a children’s book, it will be enjoyed by animal lovers of any age. It’s an entertaining adventure story that parents will enjoy reading to younger children, or will be appreciated by older independent readers. It’s thought provoking, using the descriptive imagery of Africa to set the scene for the series to develop.
Flame and Hope are best friends, and the stories are told through the eyes of Hope. Since Hope is a bird perched high in an Acacia tree, he has an uninterrupted view of the remote cattle farm where Flame, a dog, lives. Flames and Hope are also friends with many other and varied animals and birds that live in the vicinity. On occasions the creatures gather around the tree where Hope is perched, and from where he recounts tales of past goings on.
This is a great writing device, and Maretha uses it well. Although the stories are engaging and well told, I have a slight reservation with the book for the newly independent reader: typically eight years old and upwards. Having said that, Roald Dahl’s Gobblefunk added over a thousand words to the English language of no relevance or meaning and his books are highly successful. Unlike Dahl, Maretha does include a dictionary in her book to help with pronunciation – look out Roald, you have a new contender chasing your heels…”
7th July – “It has been many a long year since I last read a children’s book to my son, but, had the likes of this been available some 40 years ago, then I could not have done better. I liked Hope and Flame, the story that they told, and of course all of the porch animals who came to life in both words and pictures. A great start to a series by a talented author. Well done!”
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Watch this space for a video reading of the opening chapter of An African Adventure: The Orphans’ Plight– COMING SOON!