“Flame and Hope: An African Adventure” – Book One of “Fauna Park Tales” – is ideal reading material for youngsters between the ages of 9-12; Middle Grade, or Year Four-Six. This series tells the life story of a young pup born in the desert where he and his nomadic family suffer an unexpected loss. This event sets a plot in motion which recurs throughout the series. For the purposes of this discussion, I would like to show how Flame behaves when he is name-called by his enemies, and occasionally, even his friends.
Tall Leader and his gang of poachers are the first ones to refer to him as, “a skinny, hungry dog, scared of people” – a mok’ger’wa” (Setswana). Even his first master succumbs to the urge to name-call, when he wants the owner of a free-range cattle farm to adopt him, referring to the little pup as “the mok’ger’wa“. And when he arrives at the farm in Molodi, his new master’s wife is shocked to see him and wonders whether he would be any good as a working dog, considering his “underfed, skinny condition”. The farm’s old bull-terrier calls him a “desert dog and a nobody” and when a young martial eagle arrogantly attacks him, it’s because, “you’re just a dog, and I’m high in the sky. What can you do to me?”
Even one of his closest friends, a young cheeky rabbit, thumps that he doesn’t have a “Pedi’tree” and is not “Royal’tree” like the old bull-terrier, and therefore, he could never become V.I.A. of Molodi, no matter how hard he tries. On another occasion, Plump-Grump a stubborn goat, viciously hooks him with his horns when he forgets to open the red gate to their favourite grazing spot, accusing him of breaking his promise, because he is after all just a “little desert dog”, something which a nasty foe, His Handsomeness, King Rat repeats when he challenges Flame about a certain timid, rescue rat living on the porch.
These events are dramatically and sometimes hilariously told by Hope, an injured bird who lives in the highest African acacia just outside the backdoor. Many readers, whether girls or boys, and older ones, will identify with some of these occasions. Yet, most will be gratified to hear how Flame deals with these situations, while keeping a promise to his first mistress – caring and protecting vulnerable bush creatures, wherever he finds himself in the world.
Here follows a few interesting tidbits about “Flame and Hope” and its progress in the amazon online bookstore. It has reached a spot in the Top 100 Kindle books in the categories of Animals, Environment and Birds on numerous occasions;
It reached GOLD MEDAL status on the HarperCollins author website, AUTHONOMY during September 2013;
Average customer review star rating is: 4:7 out of 5!;
“Flame and Hope: An African Adventure” has 25 reviews on amazon.com;
This is the black and white illustrated paperback of Flame and Hope and here follows the eBook at: https://www.amazon.com/Flame-Hope-African-Adventure-Fauna/dp/1910115339/
Review by Gwendolyn Plano, the author of, “Letting Go Into Perfect Love …”, a spiritual and uplifting memoir.
“Set in South Africa, this book draws the reader into its story through the local animals. Flame, a dog, and Hope, a bird, guide us over the hurdles of sorrow and the heights of joy. This is a children’s book, but all ages will enjoy the skill of the author in crafting scenes, conveying messages, and providing a compelling story. The illustrations, painted by the author, are extraordinary in that they capture the terrain and the character of the animals.
I commend the author for her careful research to convincingly depict the personalities and physical traits of each of the animals. Their collective and individual voices are enduring and lasting. I look forward to reading the entire series.”
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