"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Meerkat Wars - juvenile fiction review

The Meerkat Wars
Author:  H.S. Toshack
Publisher:  PakaMdogo Press
Published:  2012
Pages:  250
ISBN 9780956323620
Juvenile Fiction
Source:  a complimentary copy was provided by the author and The Cadence Group in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Sheena is a clever and cheeky little black-and-white cat who secretly stows away (again) in the Allen Family’s Land Rover when they set off on safari to Baragandiri National Park.

Her adventures begin when she helps to rescue Pebble, a young meerkat who has been stung by a scorpion. She befriends Pebble’s tribe, the Duwara, then finds they are fighting a vicious war with the Utongo, who hold the territory on the other side of The Gorge – a deep and terrifying valley cutting this part of Baragandiri in two.

Each tribe believes it lives under The One True Sun, the sun they see on their own side of The Gorge. Sheena decides that the only way to help them is to prove that there is only one sun, and that both tribes share a common belief and a common future. To do that she must persuade the tribes’ leaders, Tuft and Slash, to come with her on a dangerous journey around the end of The Gorge. (from the author)

My Review:
"this is only one of (so far) three stories about Sheenas' secret safaris to Baragandiri.  .....  The previous two take place in The Main Park [you can find the map image at the beginning of the book].  If you haven't already read them, you may want to do so in order to learn more about Paka Mdogo, our little cat heroine...and about Mpole, the Gradual Elephant, and about baboons and lions and warthogs and vultures and vervet monkeys and another monitor lizard and two eagles and a python and a cobra and..."

As you can see from the author's note above and the description of The Meerkat Wars, adventure abounds in this children's series.  It is not necessary to begin with the first book to understand the storyline.  Each can be a stand alone novel, but if you enjoy the adventure in The Meerkat Wars, as I am sure any animal lover will, you will want to get yourself a copy of the previous two novels in this series (Paka Mdogo and The Gradual Elephant).  See http://www.litworks.com/childrens.php for more information.  

The Meerkat Wars takes us to Africa with little Sheena, an adventurous housecat, as she follows her human family into the brush only to find herself an integral part of a plan to protect a meerkat family from an enemy meerkat clan.  She comes in contact with numerous creatures of the wild, including porcupine and scorpion to name only a couple, as she helps plan a defence and strategies to assist them in their battle.  She's quite a clever cat, in over her head in the African wilderness.  Sheena's story will teach children the value of friendship and loyalty and the importance of helping others in need.  

The Meerkat Wars is a warm adventurous tale that children will be sure to enjoy and learn from too.  Charming!!

Note:  "A set of free, downloadable teaching resources (structured in line with the UK National Literacy Strategies but designed to help all 7-12 year old readers explore the text fully, and deepen their enjoyment of it) is available in the Paka Mdogo section of the LitWorks.com website. Go to http://www.litworks.com/childrens.php."  (personally, I think The Meerkat Wars is more on an age 9-12 reading level)

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