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Akimbo and the Elephants Hardcover – August 11, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 4
  • Series: Akimbo
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (August 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582346860
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582346861
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Alexander McCall Smith, best-selling author of the celebrated No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, connects with an entirely new audience with his beginning chapter book series featuring a young African boy fiercely devoted to the conservation of his animal friends. Akimbo lives on the large African game reserve where his father works, and is constantly on the lookout for an opportunity to see or learn something new. In Akimbo and the Elephants, the resourceful Akimbo helps foil an elephant poaching ring by secretly taking ivory seized by the park wardens and offering it to known poachers. When the poachers take the bait and invite Akimbo along on their illegal hunt, the boy slips away from the men and alerts the authorities. In Akimbo and the Lions, Akimbo helps raise a lion cub that is accidentally caught in a farmer's trap and learns the true meaning of sacrifice when he must release his beloved Simba back into the wild. While Akimbo occasionally comes close to real danger, (an angry bull elephant charges towards him; a cornered lioness threatens him and his father) Smith always brings his small but determined hero safely out of harm's way, having both learned a valuable lesson and gone on a great adventure. First published in the UK in 1990, resourceful Akimbo is being introduced to an American audience for the first time, and will undoubtedly be warmly welcomed by young fans of Ann Cameron's Julian stories, and Paula Danziger's Amber Brown books. --Jennifer Hubert

From School Library Journal

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He is now Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. He has written more than fifty books, including a number of specialist titles, but is best known for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has achieved bestseller status on four continents. In 2004 he was awarded British Book Awards Author of the Year and Booksellers Association Author of the Year. He lives in Scotland, where in his spare time he is a bassoonist in the RTO (Really Terrible Orchestra).

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
I personally think you should read this book because it is a fun and an easy to read book.
Virginia Pocket
This is a great story about a little boy who takes great personal risks to save elephants from poachers.
Maggie L.
In this short children's book, McCall Smith is as usual interested in ethics and morality.
Jon Linden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jon Linden VINE VOICE on October 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this short children's book, McCall Smith is as usual interested in ethics and morality. The book centers on Akimbo, a child of about 7 or 8 years of age. Akimbo becomes aware that there are people that poach Ivory, by killing elephants illegally and taking the tusks. Akimbo learns this when he and his father, a park ranger come upon a dead elephant and a live calf. Akimbo is bothered greatly by this situation. Not only is he bothered by the dead mother, but also by the calf left behind.

In discussing this with his father, Akimbo discovers that it is very, very difficult for poachers to be caught and brought to justice. He hatches a plan to do just that. His plan is to find out who the poachers are, and get proof of their illegal activity. Then to turn this information over to his father so the poachers can be brought to justice.

In effectuating his plan, Akimbo is exposed to considerable personal danger. Nonetheless, he decides that the unethical behavior of the poachers is worth the risk to his person. The story tells how Akimbo achieves this objective. The book is an excellent story for children and teaches not only ethics and morality, but also something about Africa and elephants and Ivory. It should be considered by all parents trying to show examples of ethical and unethical behavior to their young children. In addition, it shows the concept that one has the choice to act ethically, or to just sit it out and watch. Akimbo chooses the former rather than the later.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Although this book is described as being for the 4-8 year-old group, it seemed to me more like a 7-9 year-old book that might well appeal more to boys than to girls (based on having had two of each in our family).

I was attracted to the book by realizing that the various animal-related stories that Alexander McCall Smith includes in his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books were among my favorite parts of those books. It occurred to me that the Akimbo books might have such stories in them.

Well, not quite . . . but the series is full of Akimbo learning about wild animals, the threats to animals from people, and deals with the problems through Akimbo's brave deeds. Children like to see themselves playing important roles in the world, and Akimbo and the Elephants is very good for appealing to that desire.

Akimbo's father works as a ranger at a game preserve in Africa where some near-by villagers have been killing elephants to take the tusks to sell to ivory carvers. Akimbo decides that he will put a stop to this practice, and his adventures provide for a good story that will keep your attention . . . even if you are well over the age of 9.

The book is nicely illustrated which adds to the realism of the story.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Allain on January 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Now, in his first books for children to be published in the U.S., he takes readers deep into the heart of Africa, where the grass grows taller than a man, and where lions and great elephants still roam. There, ten-year-old Akimbo lives with his father on the edge of a game reserve. Akimbo loves to join his father when he patrols the reserve because there is always something exciting to see. But when it comes to wild animals, excitement can also mean danger..." (description from publisher's website)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Pocket on June 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
I think you should read this book because it is about a boy named Akimbo who lives in Africa. His mission is to save a lot of elephants. Akimbo travels 35 miles to prevent an entire herd of elephants from being shot solely for their ivory tusks. Ultimately, he rescues the elephants by tricking the poachers into the hands of the rangers. I personally think you should read this book because it is a fun and an easy to read book. It keeps you in suspense and gives you a sense of hope for our future.
by Virginia Pocket
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Maggie L. on October 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 6 year old enjoyed this chapter book so much that we had to read the whole book in one sitting. Truth be told, I would have finished it that evening anyhow. This is a great story about a little boy who takes great personal risks to save elephants from poachers. Like other McCall-Smith books, it is filled with local culture and really gives one the feeling of being there...enjoy....
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