Thursday 13 October 2016

A Bird, a Girl and a Rescue

A Bird, a Girl and a Rescue, by J.A. Myhre, is a fantasy adventure story set in Africa. The author has written about the setting from experience, modeled on places where she has lived and her children's school. This book and the earlier book in the series, A Chameleon, a Boy and a Quest were, originally, written for her family.

This book tells the story of Kiisa who is sent to boarding school away from her family and valley. On her arrival, she finds that her father has given her an unusual present, a talking bird. As Kiisa settles in, she finds that her bird is able to carry messages and give advice. 

The story follows Kiisa through being bullied; finding her place in school where lessons are less than inspiring that those she was used to having; to a football tournament and a raid on the school. Kiisa and her bird travel through the jungle with the help of a talking monkey to effect a rescue and protect the jungle.

In many ways, this book was fascinating. The descriptions of the school and jungle come across as real. The anxiety of living where there are rebels nearby came across clearly but I do have some reservations about the role of the talking animals. These animals seem almost an add-on to the plot. Theologically, they are used to give messages from the Creator. This felt uncomfortable in a story which is clearly in a setting based on reality. Did the bird imply that God sends messages in this way? There certainly didn't seem to be mention of reading the Bible nor to any great extent of prayer. The story isn't set up as complete fantasy in the same way as the Narnia books but as low fantasy: fantasy elements in a real setting which makes the role of the animals more difficult to rationalise.

Overall, a fascinating read and great to read a book set in modern Africa but I can't wholeheartedly recommend this book due to the odd role of the Messengers, talking animals. 

The book is designed for children from about 8-11. It is published by New Growth Press and is available from Amazon.

Disclaimer: I was given an e-copy of this book in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The views are my own.

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1 comment:

  1. Dear Sarah, thanks for the review. I'm glad you enjoyed most of the book. The genre I am aiming for is magical realism, which I think describes our visible world with the knowledge that there are
    "behind-the-veil" mysteries we can't always see. It's a stretch so thanks for giving it a try.