This is a great read for pre-teens (or anyone young at heart) interested in Nepal, wildlife, or simply adventure! From run-ins with poachers and bears in the jungles of Bardiya, to struggling to survive in a mountain cave, to canoeing down the Karnali River, James and Alex (the protagonists) seem to find adventures wherever they go.
As an American journalist who grew up in Nepal myself, I loved the details in this book about wildlife, Nepali cultures, and politics / social problems. The book deals with a terrible time in Nepal's history - the Maoist civil war, when many ordinary people were stuck in the crossfire between rebels and the state security forces - without simplifying complex issues too much. The book's protagonists view the world from a unique vantage point as "Third Culture Kids." Wilson-Howarth, the author, shows her fondness for Nepal and Nepali people, and also demonstrates her lively imagination and story-telling ability!
This book captures the sights, smells and drama of Nepal. Told in the first person in alternating scenes by Sonia, a neurotic Englishwoman who has come to Nepal to heal from the emotional bruises of a broken marriage and the loss of a job, and Rekraj, her Nepali guide and Guliya, the Nepali woman with whom Sonia lives, the story hinges on cultural misunderstandings, until a natural disaster shows strength of character that springs from deep within, a universal human trait.
I raced through this book. It's a page turner, vividly told.
Chasing the Tiger
In this second of the Alex and James adventures the story begins with the boys and their parents imprisoned by Maoists in Nepal, in filthy conditions. As they are being moved to a remote hideout, the boys escape and, with their friend Bim, they try to follow their parents, hoping to free them. This is a journey fraught with danger not only from the angry Maoists but also from wild animals and hostile conditions. Wonderfully accurate black and while illustrations by Betty Levene bring the story (and the animals) to life for the reader.
This book, not like many others, it starts by plunging you into an adventure, where you are instantly gripped. I really loved this book and read it in an afternoon. It is not the children being kidnapped, but the adults. The children set off on a long fun, challenging adventure encountering lots of different animals with beautiful descriptions and illustrations. You feel as if you could walk up to them and greet them with their full name. The different personalities of the children really bring the story alive. There are two boys, the younger one thinks mainly of food and the older one tries to be clever but fails desperately over time because the girl out-smarts his thinking with her knowledge of Nepali culture. I think everyone would enjoy this book, even if you don’t have a particular interest in different animals. By the end, you will have a knowledge of more than just foxes and badgers.
Toma, aged 12