Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ana's Picture Book of the Week

Akimbo and the Elephants, Akimbo and the Lions, Akimbo and the Crocodile Man, Akimbo and the Snakes, Akimbo and the Baboons, by Alexander McCall Smith, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, Bloomsbury USA Childrens' Books, 2005-2008

This series for young readers, written by my favorite contemporary author, has all Husband and I look for in a children's book:

-excellent writing
-interesting story
-active, forward pace
-realistic character development and a setting that is foreign and fascinating
-and finally a virtuous protagonist

During a recent illness my ten-year-old and I spent a fair amount of time on the couch, and we took turns reading aloud three volumes of this series. I just requested the two others from our Inter Library Loan. A children's book is a winner when the teens and adults in the house stop to listen to the story. No juvenile fluff here, but interesting plots that appeal to anyone. Akimbo is the sweet, but courageous and clever young son of an African park ranger. Helping his dad, and armed with his noble soul and courage and determination, he is able to find adventure and ways to help others in each of the stories.

The illustrations are wonderful! We stopped at each illustrated page and made comments about how good they were. I am including one here that shows the amount of expression on young Akimbo's face as he tells the head ranger of what he just discovered...

Alexander McCall Smith, the author, grew up in Africa and returns there each year. He knows what he is writing about, and you can sense from his writing that in his heart there lives a deep love and admiration for Africa. I highly recommend this series for anyone looking for a good children's series!
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