In a book that looks more like an old and treasured leather souvenir box than it does a traditional book, travelers will find the vivid experience of a safari. The photicular image of a cheetah races to life as the cat runs across the grasslands when you lift open the cover. You eagerly turn the page to see what else is in store for your journey.
We open to author Carol Kaufmann’s personal diary of a safari – from the landing of her small plane in Masai Mara, Kenya, a 500-hundred-square-mile national reserve to settling into camp and through the many day trips to see animals in their natural environment.
Eight individual animals get two-page spreads with narratives describing their lives, habits and interactions, along with fascinating facts to take away: a group of hyenas is called a pod; a sewer-like odor means hippos are near; William Cornwallis Harris, a naturalist, led the first safari in 1836 – and that was quite a grand adventure.
Sidebars present essential data on each of the animals, including size, speed, location, population, life span, and more.
Most outstanding are the images – each animal in action with the flip of a page: a lioness charging right at you; a gorilla chewing on a blade of grass; an elephant flapping his ears; and an iconic image of a giraffe at sunset.
While young readers may want to skip the opening chapter – which they may find too chatty, they will be intrigued by the introduction which explains how the photiculars are assembled and how they work. And they will be riveted by the animal images themselves. This is a book a whole family can share, and each will come away with something new that they’ve learned, something new to remember.
TIPS FOR FAMILIES: Gather up some of the facts you learn as you travel on this safari, and play trivia games with the whole family. Collect your own photographs from trips you have taken and put together a book of one of your own family’s real journeys. Have each person write something to describe each photograph, the experience it captures, and the way it felt.
Reviewed by LLW
Themes: Animals; Travel; Adventures and Adventurers
Suggested Ages: 10 and up