Thank you to author, Maretha Botha, for hosting day 3 of my Sir Chocolate Books blog tour which includes pictorial instructions on how to make a fish out of fondant.
About Maretha Botha
Author/Illustrator Maretha Botha admits to being addicted to a good espresso and a fruit&nut chocolate bar. Having a barbecue, gardening and bird watching are favourite past-times for her and her family, especially during the short Lancashire summers.
She has published an award-winning, illustrated series of animal and bird adventure books (1-4) for Middle Grade Readers called, “Fauna Park Tales”, available as eBooks and black&white illustrated paperbacks.
One of her latest releases is a short story, “Saving The Evergreens: Garden Secrets” – a fantasy for those who still let their imagination take flight in the undergrowth.
As part of her book club’s challenge she also published two short stories called, “Lost Time” and “Lost And Found” – part of a W.I.P. series, “Family Ties”.
My review of Flame and Hope: An African Adventure by Maretha Botha
Flame and Hope is story about a dog born in a fictional desert that is modeled around the Kalahari desert in Southern Africa. As a puppy, Flame has a tough start to life when a band of cattle thieves threaten his master, a tracker named Kgabo, and his wife and family into helping them move stolen cattle across the border. Lera, Kgabo’s sickly wife, and two of their puppies, one of which is Flame, cannot manage the journey and get left behind. Lera and one of the puppies dies and, when Kgabo returns for them, only Flame is still alive. Kgabo takes Flame to the home of a friend of his and asks him to raise Flame as he can’t manage now that his wife has passed.
Flame’s new master, John James, renames him Jack and despite some reluctance by Maisie, John’s wife, to take on another dog, he soon settles into his new home. Flame befriends the local animals, including a bird, named Hope, who is the narrator of the story. Due to difficult start in life and the losses he suffered, Flame is very empathetic and cajoles most of the other farm animals into becoming defenders of their farm, which they call Fauna Park, which is to become a sanctuary for all animals. Hunters are welcome to visit but are requested to hunt elsewhere. The participating animals promise to do their best to maintain the park’s status as a place of sanctuary.
This undertaking by Flame leads to many adventures as he attempts to uphold his promise and defend all animal life in Fauna Park. Flame also learns a lot about his own nature and the nature of other creatures, such a the rat, who are not all as willing as him to uphold the promise.
I did wonder what age group this book is aimed at as the style of writing and use of many local words and made up words based on real ones, does not allow for particularly easy reading, although they are defined at the back. I think middle school children would struggle to read this book.
I enjoyed this book about life in the more rural and desert regions of Southern Africa. It introduces children to a different way of life and some of the cultural, political and social aspects of this region.