Listening for Lions

Gloria Whelan, Author . HarperCollins $15.99 (194p) ISBN 978-0-06-058174-9

Whelan (Homeless Bird ) places her courageous and thoughtful narrator in Africa in 1919, just after the Great War and manages to place a new twist on familiar themes. "It didn't occur to me at that moment that I, too, might become an orphan. I think I believed that because Father was a doctor, he would let no illness come to our family." When 13 year-old Rachel Sheridan loses her British missionary parents, unscrupulous neighbors exploit her resemblance to their deceased daughter, Valerie, and send her to England to try to collect the inheritance from Valerie's ailing grandfather. What sets this familiar tale apart is Rachel's love of the African land, animals and Masai people, and the details that make Whelan's narrative come alive. The author ensures that Rachel's lack of choices and her sensitive nature make her complicity wholly believable. Once in England, the girl's evolving relationship with the invalid grandfather heightens her sense of guilt about her assumed identity. However, when the villains are exposed, much of the novel's tension dissipates and the balance of the book reads somewhat like an extended epilogue. Still, Whelan's formidable and appealing heroine will keep readers rooting for her dream of a home with the lions of Africa. Ages 10-up. (July)

Reviewed on: 08/22/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 194 pages - 978-0-06-058176-3
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 208 pages - 978-0-06-178118-6
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-178115-5
Prebound-Glued - 194 pages - 978-0-7569-7800-6
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-178119-3
Library Binding - 194 pages - 978-0-06-058175-6
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-197585-1
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