Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Meerkat Wars

The Meerkat Wars, The Gradual Elephant, and Paka Mdogo Little Cat

by H.S. Toshack

Our trilogy of readers is working through this trilogy of African Animal Adventure books...

Guest Reviewer Son #3:

In “The Meerkat Wars” a house cat gets accidentally lost on a trip that she was never supposed to go on. In the wild Sheena must help a young Meerkat in need. The Meerkats befriend Sheena because she helped the young meerkat. I recommend this book to people who like the ‘Warrior’ books because they both involve a house cat that gets lost in the wild and then get befriended by untamed animals.

Guest Reviewer Son #2:

The Meerkat Wars by H.S. Toshack is a very interesting and exciting portrayal of life in the African Baragandiri National Park. The author tells the story of a house cat named Sheena who encounters rival meerkat tribes living on the reserve. Both tribes believe they live under the “one true sun” and battle over supremacy of the desert. The tribes hate each other because they think they are very different from each other, but in fact they are almost identical. The meerkats learn to coexist, and they become allies and friends. In my opinion the tribes represent the many religious groups of the world. The author is conveying that if people just communicate with each other and look past their differences, they will realize that the differences are in  fact very small, and that they are more alike than they ever thought before. If people would stop hating and fighting, and listen to reason like the meerkats, the world would be a much better place. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoyed reading The Warriors books. Both authors portray the animals in the story as “people” who live and survive as a clan or tribe. Also, both books feature a newcomer who must learn the ways of the animals, and make peace between rivals. In The Meerkat Wars the author places a poem at the start of each chapter, which sets the mood and foreshadows things to come, making the book more interactive with the readers. After each poem, it was fun attempting to guess which animal was being hinted at to appear next in the story. I loved reading the book and I can’t wait to read the other books in the series.

Not much I can add to that!  Interesting adventures, danger and humor, and lots of great animal & Africa learning connections. Some of the humor was British, and some of the jokes (lots of computer themed riddles in the Elephant book) and wordplay would be lost on most students, especially ELLs. Almost seemed it was written for the clever/higher reading child, but there is a lot of good stuff for all level readers. These would be great books for read aloud in younger grades or classes with lots of English learners.

Unfortunately, our cat doesn't seem the adventurous type. I'll have to read the books to him. Special thanks to LitWorks.com for introducing us to these books.


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