Akimbo Adventures by Alexander McCall Smith
|Akimbo Adventures by Alexander McCall Smith|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: He’s just an all-round good storyteller. Share the Alexander McCall Smith love with your children with these warm-hearted, interesting and exciting stories.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: May 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
I am, it must be said, something of an Alexander McCall Smith addict. I have handed out free copies of his books for World Book Night, I met him in Oxford at a literary festival, and I read pretty much everything he writes as he writes it! This time it’s a children’s book, with three stories in one volume all about a boy called Akimbo. He lives on the edge of a game reserve in Africa, and these stories are all about his rather amazing adventures with the animals who also share his home.
Each of the stories in the book focuses around a different animal - an elephant, a lion and a crocodile. I had expected, without knowing anything about the books beforehand, that these would be rather tame, gentle tales but actually they were exciting and unpredictable! In the first story, Akimbo finds himself embroiled in a plot (of his own making) to try and catch some ivory hunters. AMS is such a skilled writer that I glided through this tale, completely unable to put it down until I knew how it all turned out! There’s excitement and moments of peril, and I think the stories have a very broad appeal for both girls and boys (and their parents!)
After hunting criminals Akimbo is then working with his father to try and catch a troublesome lion. If I tell you that he ends up coming home with a lion cub, that he hand rears, it starts to sound like the most unlikely of stories. Yet somehow, whilst reading, you believe every moment! The final story I found the most nerve-wracking. Crocodiles have always made me feel nervous, and with good reason I feel after finishing this story with both a shiver and a sigh!
Each story is written in short chapters that are both short enough for a bedtime read for the younger confident readers, and yet their length allows older readers to sneak in two chapters, or maybe even three, before lights out! The characters are well drawn, especially Akimbo, and life in Africa is depicted well enough that you can feel the heat as you read. There are simple illustrations that, again, evoke a feel of Africa, and the animals involved in the stories. They are sprinkled throughout the chapters, breaking up the text and prompting your imagination. One lovely picture, my favourite in the book, shows Akimbo sitting watching the sunset with his lion cub. There are other small images, of trucks and camps and crocodiles and footprints, all little nudges or prompts to the text.
This is a lovely book, perfect for animal lovers, or fans of adventure, or those who just like a good story. It’s probably aimed for those around eight years and older, though I don’t like to set a limit on a story that I’m sure younger readers would enjoy having read to them, and personally I’d love to pick up another Akimbo story to see what else he’s been getting up to! Delightful, and definitely recommended.
Younger readers might enjoy trying this simpler story Good Dog Lion (which is also dyslexia friendly) or Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion : A New Case for Precious Ramotswe.
You can read more book reviews or buy Akimbo Adventures by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon.com.
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