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Grade 2-3–The author of the adult The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency mystery series originally published these delightful children's stories in Great Britain in the early 1990s. His short, illustrated chapter-book adventures will transport American readers to the plains of Africa where Akimbo lives with his parents on a Kenyan game reserve. His father works as a park ranger, and, on occasion, Akimbo is allowed to accompany him while he works. In Elephants, the two encounter a dead elephant, killed for its tusks. When the poachers aren't found immediately, Akimbo devises a plan to catch them in the act. After several suspenseful moments, the boy's simple, yet innocent plan works. In Lions, the child accompanies his father and other rangers as they investigate news of lion attacks. The plan is to trap the marauding animal and take it to another area, but by accident, they capture its cub. The African setting, dramatic full-page pencil illustrations, and the animal facts woven into the stories are sure to capture young readers.–Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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Gr. 3-5. By a well-known author of adult books, this story, featuring a young boy, Akimbo, who lives "in the heart of Africa," conveys appreciation and respect for the African landscape, culture, and people, as well as the importance of wildlife conservation. Young Akimbo accompanies his father, a wildlife reserve ranger, to work and learns of poachers who are killing elephants. Determined to stop them, Akimbo goes undercover and finds himself face to face with the poachers and a scary rhino. The illustrations, which appear to be well-executed, soft-edged, black-and-white pictures, were not available in completed form in this galley. Pair this with Smith's Akimbo and the Lions. Shelle Rosenfeld
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