RRBC Back-to-School Book & Blog Party 1-31 August 2016 RAVES REVIEW BOOK CLUB

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Hello, and welcome to Maretha’s spot, part of a child-friendly blog – Fauna Park Tales. What fun we’ve had thus far this month! There are still a few days to go, so come and join me today, the 28th of August. Remember you must be in it to win it. So leave a comment at the bottom of the page, beyond “About Me”.  Links for the other participants’ places are on the RRBC website at:


On today’s stop, you’ve landed in Lancashire, part of the North-West in the United Kingdom, in the vicinity of the Darwen Tower – an octagonal structure also known as the Jubilee Tower, completed in 1898 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was opened to the public on September the 24th, 1898. Walking on the moors, climbing a stone spiral staircase, 85 feet up is always worth it. Vistas as far as Morecambe Bay and an accompanying stiff breeze, clear one’s mind and fire lots of inspiration for new adventures, already part of my new Works in Progress. Here I am at the top of Darwen tower, proud to have walked the steep uphill and climbed the stairs for the second time this season.  Unfortunately my smile is rather frozen as if I’ve had a Botox injection, but my mind is already in overdrive, full of new stories.


NINE black-and-white illustrated paperbacks of the first three books of FAUNA PARK TALES with subtitle,  An African Adventure, to three fortunate visitors! And who knows, if you pop in at my Amazon Author Page, you might be able to download the eBooks which are on a KDP-Select special as well!  So spread the news and make a children’s author happy by posting a short positive review on Amazon. Thank you!

An update on the prize winners!

Each of these awesome RAVE REVIEWS CLUB MEMBERS received black-and-white paperback copies of the first three books of Fauna Park Tales.  I hope they enjoy the stories, which I believe often take us back to our childhood and reliving memories of the  “inner-child”.  Happy reading!

1. Member:  Karen Ingalls
Website:  http://www.kareningallsbooks.com/
Twitter:  @KIngallsAuthor

2. Member:  Yvette Calleiro

Twitter:  @YvetteMCalleiro

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/YvetteMCalleiro

3. Member:  Jenny Hinsman

Twitter:  @JennyHinsman1


Flame and Hope: An African Adventure sets the scene for Fauna Park Tales – the Series, which was conceived while we lived on the outskirts of a game reserve in Mmokolodi, Botswana. The series is based on the original “African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends”, a GOLD MEDAL WINNER on Authonomy, supported by HarperCollins.

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The series strives to bridge the gap between Early Readers and Middle Grade (ages 9-13) and has illustrations, not only to enhance reading pleasure for better readers, but to serve as memory aids for younger readers throughout the series. Please bear this in mind when reading the introductory chapters of this first book to younger listeners and readers.

These chapters deal with family life’s losses and gains, adoption, finding true worth and true friends, as experienced by a young pup born in a semi-desert. This special place somewhere in Southern Africa is called the Kalughari by the bush creatures. Events during this time provide an emotional arch for this young dog and his furry and feathered friends’ behaviour throughout the series, progressively amplifying the plot by means of short stand-alone stories. This format provides ideal opportunities for younger readers to either read shorter stories by themselves, or have a family member read a bed-time story to them. Teachers often use these short stories during reading sessions. *

Not many humans speak Faunalang – the bush creatures’ own peculiar language – a sought-after talent which bad ones want to use, and Flame and his furry and feathered friends will protect, without regard for their own safety. There are memorable characters – an elusive bird with pink eyelids and two martial eagles; two rats – one good, one bad; a stubborn goat who shows forcefully that ‘a promise is a promise’ and  the good humans – the James family, Chief Monametsi and the Molodi villagers, as well as bad ones such as Tall Leader, and his band of poachers and cattle thieves.

Puppy Flame in the Desert

The young pup finds himself alone in the Kalughari, but he courageously chants the bush creatures’ first motto:




*Here is a comment from an older reader and retired school teacher who posted a review as ‘Dragon’5.0 out of 5 stars  I don’t like anthropomorphic stories  August 2016 Format: Paperback

“Maretha sent me Flame and Hope & Friends and asked me to comment. Oh dear! I don’t like anthropomorphic stories. I need not have worried, these stories are charming and the animals have the characteristics of animals and don’t behave like little people – not a pinny or waistcoat in sight. A moral message gets across subtly with no preachiness. I think younger children will enjoy having these stories read to them, and grown ups will enjoy reading them. Older children will be able to read for themselves and will enjoy the made up words such as Humanlang and Faunalang. They will also learn something about Africa.”
Book  One: After a serious event affects him and his family in the desert, a young scrawny desert pup – Flame – is adopted by a free-range cattle farmer who lives in the Molodi valley, where he is known among the good humans as Jack Old Boy.  There Flame grows into a strong working dog. No longer a skinny or scared pup, he and a few of his new friends on the farm are on a quest – The Promise – to protect and care for helpless creatures, just as Flame’s first mistress in the Kalughari taught him. Unexpectedly, a young martial eagle comes hunting  in Fauna Park.  No one knows where he comes from and when he finally kleeous defiantly, he does so in French! After grappling with him, Flame takes him to a safe hunting territory beyond the Llokodi Hills.  Only time will tell whether this young martial eagle will become a friend or remain a foe.
Mars and Flame's Grapple

Flame aka Jack Old Boy (3)

Book Two: When duty calls unexpectedly, Flame risks his life to save a vulnerable young zebra trapped by fearsome fires. A former foe becomes a friend, but during this particular rescue, Flame becomes very ill. Humans, as well as furry and feathered friends surround him with love and care. During this time, Hope finally tells him who he really is and where he comes from. Meanwhile, the chickens feed him two newly laid eggs every morning and the cats take over as his nurse aids. How all this care ends, especially when the good humans begin digging a hole in the ground when it seems as if nothing can save our hero from ‘new moaning‘, provides interesting reading and often hilarious moments.

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In this illustration, Flame and a young zebra foal are trapped, first by fires and then in a thunderstorm which quickly floods the area.  A lone martial eagle circles above them, sounding warnings.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Friends-African-Adventure-Fauna-Tales-ebook/dp/B00Y2WS82E/ and paperback at: https://www.createspace.com/5515932/

Kindle Cover (1)

Book Three: Bad humans are disturbing the peace in the Molodi valley, and two small orphans are in danger. One of them speaks Faunalang – a rare and wonderful talent – something which the bad ones want at all cost, but Flame and his furry and feathered friends stick to The Promise. Young and old will enjoy reading about their latest thrilling adventures, when Molodi’s bush creatures meet friends and foes in their quest to protect helpless ones in Fauna Park. Plump-Grump, the stubborn goat, and his harem do their bit, but what will happen at the farm while Flame and his friends are on a dangerous mission? His Handsomeness, King Rat returns, but is he a friend or a foe? In this illustration, a bull frog who calls himself Fee-Far-Fun, overhears a chat between a greedy rat and a common mynah while they’re causing mischief in Fauna Park.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Orphans-Plight-African-Adventure-Fauna-ebook/dp/B01CO4LXLE/  and paperback at https://www.createspace.com/6131789

Should you have a few moments to browse longer, read this post about why  Children’s Indie Authors are grateful to receive reviews.


You may want to visit Fauna Park Tales at their Facebook page.  Please like our page and leave us a link to yours at the same time. Thank you!


Here are other links for you to click on should you wish to follow and/or comment.

https://marethmbotha.wordpress.com/ and https://twitter.com/MarethMBotha

Thank you so much for stopping by.  We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the lives of the furry and feathered friends, as well as the humans who share this part of Southern Africa with them.



  1. What an absolutely delightful post this is, with a grandson (Only 4 years-old) I’m constantly searching for books to keep and read to him as he grows and learns about the world around him. These beautifully illustrated tales and the lessons they encompass are just the type of book I know he will treasure. I do hope the rest of your party is joyous.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a lovely post, Maretha. The descriptions of your books and the drawings were beautiful, and I’m thinking of them for my grandkids. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m very glad that you like the drawings and I’m sure your grandkids will enjoy them. The eBooks which are on free download today have the drawings in colour. All the best. I’m sure we’ll chat soon.


    • You are very kind and I love your comments about children’s authors. I’m sure most of them will agree that we start off fairly confident to write something for a favourite child or writing down a memory, but then it becomes an obsession – a type of conscripted volunteer work which becomes a life-long profession.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for following my blog. Yes, I agree that sometimes I agonise over which word would be the best to use – something which still challenges a young mind – but at the same time, not so difficult that it discourages them from reading further.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The view is really spectacular up on the crest of the Darwen moors and up the top of the tower just that much more. These days it’s a real feat for me to get to to the top! But very worthwhile. Thanks for your comments, especially on the illustrations.


    • I loved your blog very much and found it very engaging. I’m afraid I don’t have that much insight into the African culture as you have in the Bulgarian culture, but your post certainly has got me thinking! Kind regards 🌹

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is so nice to meet you, Maretha! I have five grandchildren and I read to them all the time. I love that you strive to bridge the gap between the 9-13 year olds. What fascinating adventures to share with children. Enjoy your party day!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging comments, Jan! I’m really hoping to hear more via parents, or grandparents, what the young readers think and where I need to change things to suite them better. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the stories too! Please bear in mind my comments about the purpose of the opening chapters in book 1 perhaps needing explanation by a grownup. Kind regards to you all🤓🐾🐾🐾


    • Dear Yvette, I’m very happy to hear that your son might like the books. I always feel a bit cheated for the kids’ sake when I see how small Amazon displays the illustrations, but ask him to click on them. They SHOULD become bigger. Unfortunately, due to the expense for folks when buying this size paperback with colour illustrations, the expense is considerable, hence the use of an eBook. I would love to know what he thinks. Please bear in mind my comments on the first book’s introductory comments. Kind regards to you both!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Yvette, I sent an email to you, because you are a winner of a set of three books from me, but you’ve not responded yet. I just wondered if you perhaps might have to look in your junk mail? I’ve already sent off the other two winners’ prizes. Kind regards and hoping to hear from you soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you reached out to me in several different ways because I don’t always check my email when my days are busy, and my days have been very busy lately. I look forward to receiving the books and sharing them with my son! Thank you! 🙂


      • Thanks Yvette, I’m not sure how old your son is but please look at my comments regarding the opening chapters of book 1 which lays the foundation for the series, not only the first book. So you might have to help him to get to know the characters, but many of the illustrations are meant to help with this. I’m sure he’ll love the clash with a martial eagle and Plump-Grump and later meeting a nasty rat, His Handsomeness King Rat!🤓

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, if he likes the Chronicles of Narnia, he should be fine with Fauna Park Tales. Once he has read book three, which sets the scene for an exciting adventure in to desert, I wonder if he would like to be a beta reader before I release book four – hopefully before the end of the year. Book had its first edit and I’m basically holding up the prices – illustrations are not done😟 Please let me know. I would like to hear his opinion. Thank you so much, Yvette. Best wishes for now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Yvette, I hope to hear from you in future. Is his school having a special commemoration for Roald Dahl and his books on Tuesday? He was born a 100 years ago 🤓 And still as popular as ever!


  4. What an interesting post. I am always looking for children’s books so I will bookmark this and return. Nice job Maretha! Africa is always an interesting topic and its such a beautiful country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t agree more! Africa is a place which inspires hope for the next day and that is how my characters deal with life’s ups and downs 🤓 Thank you for your encouraging comments which are so welcome!


  5. Excellent post, Maretha. I enjoy animal stories through the eyes and ears of children. Mine and theirs are all now too old to let me read them a story. Well, maybe the great grandkids offer hope. (have to wait a while, though)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the African context! Currently living in Ethiopia and its so rich in culture and nature. Do any of your books go there? In any case, a wonderful series, very well done. Hope today helps introduce your work to many eager young readers.

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    • Yes Helena, I loved living in Africa, getting to know something about the local people, their language and ways. There is inspiration around every corner and bush. Smaller birds and animals were visiting our property on a regular basis, and observing the herds of goats, many chickens and local dogs’ behaviour made my task fairly easy. So I didn’t suffer from ” writers’ block” at all. I also learned much from my students. They were different and endearing. 😎


  7. Hi Maretha! These stories sound wonderful. I don’t have small children, but Im going to mosey on over to Amazon and see about that download for myself! Do you do the illustrations? They’re beautiful! Enjoy your party and happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your interest. I hope you enjoy the eBooks for now. While we lived in Botswana, I had much to inspire me, not just observing smaller birds, or wild birds in their habitats which were often endangered, but especially getting to know the local folks who lived around us. Many of them reappeared as one of the characters in my stories, which I began to illustrate as well. I think you might enjoy the stories even as an adult because they touch on things which also matter to us as grow ups. Kind regards 🤓


  8. I think the blog is well set out and you give just enough well chosen comments from each book to make it inviting to read. I will definitely invite friends and colleagues to download, read these stories and leave a comment on your Amazon web page. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments and I really appreciate that you are inviting your friends to view the post. I hope they will find it interesting. Getting a review on Amazon will be the proverbial cherry on the top! Kind regards!😎


    • Thanks for visiting, Rob! It would be quite a journey by motorbike, but it could be fantastic. Always better to travel by two though – large open spaces in the Karroo – in case of a breakdown! 😉


  9. Your books look delightful and as an adult I love reading children’s books. What a wonderful talent to be able to illustrate as well as write. Enjoyed your post and hope to read your books soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Maretha – lovely blog and pictures. I especially enjoyed your watercolors – nice work! Have a great RRBC back to school blog day – MikeL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment on watercolours made my day. They’re tricky and to get the paintings to look good in black and white, without losing the natural flow of watercolours is so tricky. I constantly feel as if I have to compromise on some of the paintings when I have to add a specific line to highlight an object.


  11. Maretha, that view from Darwen is absolutely incredible. Thanks for sharing it with us. It’s a real treat to stop by today. You’re such an amazing artist! The stories and the illustrations are beautiful and engaging. Have a fabulous party day! 🙂


    • Thanks so much, Micki! I’m so happy to hear that you like everything about this blog. I agonised quite a bit about what to add and so forth. I know an eBook can never have the real feel of a book, but I have the three books on a KDPSelect special today and in the meanwhile you might still be able to download them. I’m holding thumbs for the paperbacks though. Best wishes 🌹🐾🐾from me and the furry and feathered friends 🐾🐾


  12. What a small world it is. Before moving to Cornwall, that part of Lancashire used to be one of my haunts, and I have fond memories of walks around the hills up where the tower is. Love the post, Maretha, and getting to know more about you and your books. Good luck with everything! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for telling me a bit more about yourself. I love the moors here and I’m sure you’ll remember just how cold it gets up there, but the view is always worth it. I hope you have a pleasant afternoon! 🌺🌺🌺


  13. Coming from Africa and having seen all the beauty of the Kalahari I really appreciate your vivid description of the landscapes and wildlife. I also love the intriguing personalities of each creature and the underlying moral stories. Well done, a wonderful effort! I’m yet to read the third instalment but am definitely looking forward to it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What wonderful books! I really like the illustrations too. It’s great to find out more about you and your writing and drawing. Thank you for sharing your work with us. I apologise for being late to the party due to travelling. I wanted to pop by to offer my support anyway. Shared on social media.

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    • Thanks so much for popping in and for sharing my page. I really am so glad to have met so many wonderful authors , not only on the blog tour, but at the Club itself. I’m hoping to get to know everyone better. Have a lovely afternoon and I hope you had a good vacation.🌹🌹🌹


  15. Hi Maretha! Just catching up with the party after a long weekend away. 😀 You have an utterly BEAUTIFUL blog – I love the colours and photography and those lovely, lively lllustrations for Fauna Park Tales. But then I’m a sucker for anything with an African theme! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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