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Akimbo and the Elephants

AKIMBO

Akimbo and the Lions

Author: Alexander McCall Smith; illustrator: LeUyen Pham
McCall Smith, best-selling author of the celebrated No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, connects with a new audience with this new series for children featuring a young African boy fiercely devoted to the conservation of his animal friends. Akimbo lives on the large African game reserve where his father works, and is constantly on the lookout for an opportunity to see or learn something new. While Akimbo occasionally comes close to real danger, (an angry bull elephant charges towards him; a cornered lioness threatens him and his father) Smith always brings his small but determined hero safely out of harm's way, having both learned a valuable lesson and gone on a great adventure.
In Akimbo and the Elephants, the resourceful Akimbo helps foil an elephant poaching ring by secretly taking ivory seized by the park wardens and offering it to known poachers. When the poachers take the bait and invite Akimbo along on their illegal hunt, the boy slips away from the men and alerts the authorities. In Akimbo and the Lions, Akimbo helps raise a lion cub that is accidentally caught in a farmer's trap and learns the true meaning of sacrifice when he must release his beloved Simba back into the wild.
From Publishers Weekly
This fast-paced tale launches Smith's (the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency mysteries) paper-over-board series starring Akimbo, who lives on the edge of an African game reserve. The lad is horrified when he and his ranger father come across a dead elephant, the victim of a gang of poachers who have killed it for its tusks. The boy surreptitiously takes a tusk from his father's storeroom as bait and promises to lead a poacher to a stash of another gang's booty if the man will teach him how they kill their prey. The narrative at times errs on the side of melodrama (e.g., watching the fallen elephant's calf wait for its mother to get up, Akimbo "declared war on the poachers"), but Smith effectively builds suspense. The boy realizes he is being stalked by an animal in the darkness, then narrowly escapes from a charging rhino. Akimbo emerges as a hero after leading his father and another ranger back to the poachers. The tale's brevity, Smith's concise writing and Pham's evocative full-page half-tone illustrations make this an attractive choice for reluctant readers. Ages 7-up.
1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier, Inc.
Ages 8 to 12
Akimo and the Elephants Akimbo and the Lions
$9.95 (hardcover)
$9.95 (hardcover)
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