Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: Carin Thom

Limpopo River Tales

Pages: 440 Ratings: 5.0
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Jake and Jill are twelve- year- old American twins whose parents are employed at the Limpopo Game Park during the 1950s. Set in the southern part of Africa covering the modern territories of Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique, this charming book begins with the end of term at boarding school as brother and sister travel to their new home to spend the long summer holidays. The twins' parents have built them their own holiday home inside a hollowed-out baobab tree. From there they embark on many delightful and sometimes dangerous adventures, mostly involving the local wildlife which is described in fascinating detail. Together with their new friends Sipho and Thandi they encounter hippos, lions, elephants, crocodiles and many other animals and insects.They experience plenty of camping, safaris, river trips and other expeditions, as well as wild animals and reptiles who visit them! Given independence which can only be dreamed of by modern children, Jake and Jill show extraordinary levels of initiative, courage and self-sufficiency. This is a fascinating and entertaining book which will please a wide readership.

Daniel Otte was born in Durban, and grew up at Untunjambili, South Africa. He attended Hermannsburg and Eshowe Schools and received PhD degrees in Zoology at the University of Michigan, USA. He has served as Curator of Insects at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia since 1975, and has conducted scientific research in Africa, North America, and Pacific and Caribbean Islands. Daniel is currently undertaking research on grasshoppers in Africa and North America. Has discovered and named more than 1600 new insect species (crickets and grasshoppers).

Carin Thom was born, grew up and completed Primary School in Piet Retief, South Africa. She attended Hermannsburg high school and the Holy Rosary Convent, and attained a BA degree from the University of South Africa, majoring in Sociology and Communications. Carin worked in the Natal Education Department, Pietermaritzburg, KZN, until retirement.


Customer Reviews
5 reviews
5 reviews
  • Lois Henderson, University of Stellenbosch

    For anyone who is aux fait with Rudyard Kipling’s tale of
    “The Elephant’s Child” from The Jungle Book, the mere
    title, Limpopo River Tales, cannot but serve to recall the
    resounding phrase: “the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo
    River, all set about with fever-trees”. The darkness of the
    cover of this great tome (which is 439 pages long – an
    exceptional length for any children’s book, one is bound to
    say, but whether this text is primarily aimed at children, or
    at adults with nostalgic longings to return to the world of
    yesteryear, is debatable), with the eponymous river
    gleaming lustrously in the distance under the sway of the
    full moon, shining down, through a beclouded sky, onto a
    tranquil rural setting, is intriguing and challenges the reader
    to open the book and start reading. That the two authors,
    Daniel Otte and Carin Thom, both come from a background
    that is very much dominated by memories of their school
    days is made clear from the start. Only those with an
    affinity for the young, as well as for the natural
    environment in which some are fortunate enough to be
    raised, could possibly have come to compose (and I do not
    use the word lightly) a work of this magnitude and nature.
    Rather than being a straightforward narrative account of the
    lives of two young children in the 1950s, it is more like a
    compendium of such a diverse range of material that it
    resembles the highly treasured and costly vintage annuals
    that have, over the last century, managed to capture the
    attention of such a range of admirers, stretching from the
    visual artist to the literary cognoscenti.
    Limpopo River Tales is a profoundly joyful and endearing
    book that is clearly an outpouring of deepfelt affection for
    the animal and birdlife, as well as for the myth and
    mythology, of the land and environs through which the
    Limpopo River flows. Both the authors are widely travelled
    in Africa and draw equally on their own childhood
    experiences, and on other tales that they have read and
    heard about the habitat that they describe so vividly in
    prose, poetry and countless black-and-white illustrations (in
    a variety of formats) that are positioned at key points
    throughout the text. This is really a work in which to revel,
    as it is highly likely so to capture and enthral its readership
    that you will be likely to return to this text time and again,
    once you have read it all the way through, dipping into your
    favourite parts, and no doubt rereading them at length when
    you have sufficient time to do so. Just the illustrations alone
    are enough to draw one to revisit these pages, they are so
    tastefully and appropriately designed. Limpopo River Tales
    is, in fact, an exquisite piece of art that should become an
    heirloom in many a household across the land, no matter
    how technocratic our society becomes.
    Limpopo River Tales may be read as a straightforward
    narrative involving two children who, while on their long
    summer holidays, sally forth from their vacation home in a
    hollowed-out baobab tree on sundry enthralling adventures
    in what is now Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and
    Mozambique. Alternatively, it may be savoured as a multilayered work of art that should be capable of being enjoyed
    by numerous coming generations. Whichever situation
    applies in the reader’s case (and, hopefully, they both apply
    in many), Limpopo River Tales is well worth the purchase
    cost, which is, in any case, extremely reasonable for a work
    of such magnitude and imagination.

  • Reader

    This is a totally engrossing, long, exciting, fascinating book
    with all the magic of childhood, the past, Africa, and
    finding your own, particular self. What a read! What a
    wonderful read! It should mesmerize ANYONE of ANY
    age. It is simply a really, really good adventure tale! The
    characterization is so believable, the descriptions so full of
    magic. I was supposed to read this in order to give a simple
    ""book report"" to a friend, and I became totally engrossed. I
    can't wait to give it to my grandkids, too. It reminded me
    over and over of the real classics, including Tom Sawyer:
    great writing, great adventure, great laughter. Enjoy!

  • Bonnie

    In a series of carefully crafted vignettes based on their
    childhood experiences, the authors take you back to
    southern Africa in the 1950's. The stories are told from the
    point of view of two children on holiday from boarding
    school. They live in a baobab tree and have many
    adventures with (and without) their scientist parents. Each
    vignette explores a different aspect of life in Africa -
    encounters with wildlife, local customs and traditions,
    mischievous tricks and the very real dangers, and details
    about ordinary life in an extraordinary environment. The
    vignettes are accompanied by beautiful illustrations,
    skillfully used to enhance the reader's understanding of the
    This book is a real treasure trove—filled with action,
    adventure, humor and warmth. I would highly recommend
    this book for both children and adults - anyone interested in
    learning about the wonders of life in Africa.

  • R M

    It is a lovely book, it brought back so many memories of the African bushveld for me. I could literally see and smell Africa again. I loved living through the kids stories, and there were so many of them. I highly recommend this book to anyone from 10 to 110.

  • Elsa Cade

    Wonderful stories that take you away to a different place.

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