Let’s learn a little more about Maretha and her amazing collection of Children’s Books.
Maretha Botha – Librarian, Children’s author/illustrator and self-confessed bookworm, chocolate and black coffee addict, animal and bird lover, occasional gardener and hiker on the moors. Her children’s (9-12) series of illustrated books called, “FAUNA PARK TALES” is based on “African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends” a September 2013 GOLD MEDAL WINNER on Authonomy, a HarperCollins writers’ website.
The first three books of “Fauna Park Tales: An African Adventure” are available as eBooks and black/white illustrated paperbacks.
A 210 page, Gold Band DELUXE COLOUR ILLUSTRATED EDITION – “Tales from Fauna Park, An African Adventure: Flame and Hope” is available and will also be enjoyed by better readers (9-12) who still like seeing illustrations
What Maretha has to say about writing books for children.
Even though there are many challenges as far as writing a book is concerned, one somehow gets beyond the difficulties of that first manuscript. Then, once it has been edited, re-edited and formatted to perfection, it finally goes live on Amazon with accompanying congratulations and of course, cracking a bottle of Fifth Avenue Cold Duck, or whatever one prefers. Inevitably, the bubbles disappear and then the reality sets in: marketing, maintaining an author platform and much more. I realise now just how difficult it is for children’s authors to obtain reviews on Amazon. They have the extra bits, the extra rocks, or . . . extra mountains as obstacles in their quest to get reviews.
You might ask, What is she talking about?
I’m talking about the fact that the very ones we write for cannot tell us directly how they feel. They can only do so via their parents, grandparents, older siblings, carers or teachers – the adults in their lives – mostly busy with life’s ups and downs. Therefore, finding time to write a review on behalf of their children, becomes more challenging whichever way one looks at it. So what are readers saying about Fauna Park Tales?
“An engaging story told in well-crafted prose. Ideal material . . . enhanced by high-quality illustrations. If you and your child love animals and adventure . . . then this book is sure to appeal.”
“Good read. When I have kids of my own, I reckon they’ll love Maretha’s Fauna Park series.”
“What a wonderful story, a bit sad at times, but all in all a great tale told from the perspective of Flame aka ‘Jack Old Boy’.”
The ideal reading age for this series is 9-13. Preteens will enjoy escaping into an imaginary world where many bush creatures always have hope that everything ends well when the sun goes down. Nevertheless, these stories are perfect to be read before bedtime to younger children and I’ve been told that many older readers had their “inner-child” resurface while reading these stories!
Here are a few of the latest reviews which I hope will inspire you to buy the series – available as eBooks, black-and-white paperbacks as well as a Deluxe Colour Edition – for a beloved child.
1. A retired teacher – still very involved in education. She refers to herself as ‘Dragon’ – I wonder why?
Maretha sent me Flame and Hope & Friends and asked me to comment. Oh dear! I don’t like anthropomorphic stories. I need not have worried, these stories are charming and the animals have the characteristics of animals and don’t behave like little people – not a pinny or waistcoat in sight. A moral message gets across subtly with no preachiness. I think younger children will enjoy having these stories read to them, and grown ups will enjoy reading them. Older children will be able to read for themselves and will enjoy the made up words such as Humanlang and Faunalang. They will also learn something about Africa.
2. This is a critical review by a fellow author.
Having lived in southern Africa on the edge of a game reserve, Maretha Botha has first-hand experience of life in the region, and draws upon it to inform her stories. She is a champion of conservation, and keen to help young ones appreciate the importance of looking out for, and seeing the plight of many creatures, especially those in the wild.
Though this is a children’s book, it will be enjoyed by animal lovers of any age. It’s an entertaining adventure story that parents will enjoy reading to younger children, or will be appreciated by older independent readers. It’s thought provoking using the descriptive imagery of Africa to set the scene for the series to develop.
Flame and Hope are best friends, and the stories are told through the eyes of Hope. Since Hope is a bird perched high in an Acacia tree, he has an uninterrupted view of the remote cattle farm where Flame, a dog, lives. Flames and Hope are also friends with many other and varied animals and birds that live in the vicinity. On occasions the creatures gather around the tree where Hope is perched, and from where he recounts tales of past goings on.
This is a great writing device, and Maretha uses it well. Although the stories are engaging and well told, I have a slight reservation with the book for the newly independent reader: typically eight years old and upwards. Having said that, Roald Dahl’s Gobblefunk added over a thousand words to the English language of no relevance or meaning and his books are highly successful. Unlike Dahl, Maretha does include a dictionary in her book to help with pronunciation – look out Roald, you have a new contender chasing your heels…
3. 5.0 out of 5 stars
Heading: Animal Tales
It has been many a long year since I last read a children’s book to my son, but, had the likes of this been available some 40 years ago, then I could not have done better. I liked Hope and Flame, the story that they told, and of course all of the porch animals who came to life in both words and pictures. A great start to a series by a talented author. Well done!
Just finished reading this and all I can say is WOWSERS! I know I’m not the age group that it was written for, but I loved every word of this book! If you’ve got a tween in your life and they love animals then get this book for them!
It’s an original book and drags you into every page, so that you don’t want to stop reading it!
If you’re an adult after a quick read for a few hours, get this book. If you’re a child, ask your parent or carer to get this for you… you won’t regret it!
Here’s a happy recipient of the first three books of”Friends: An African Adventure” is the second book of the series called “Fauna Park Tales” based on “African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends”, a GOLD MEDAL WINNER on Authonomy, supported by HarperCollins.
The following is an excerpt from the HarperCollins Children’s Editor Review:
“A vivid and engaging world of animal characters . . . the use of cleverly animalised verbs is very creative – Dolly Cat’s ‘whispurr’. The exploration of interrelationships between animals is a very successful topic in the children’s literature genre, and you have created some great personalities – the stubborn goat ‘Plump-Grump’ and the conceited ‘His Handsomeness, King Rat’ being some of my favourites . . .”
Life takes strange turns for Flame, a puppy born in the African desert. Adopted by a free-range cattle farmer, the pup faces the challenge of proving himself to more than one of his new family.
As Flame grows into a strong and brave dog, he finds friendship with many loyal furry and feathered friends who teach him to keep The Promise – protecting the helpless ones in Fauna Park, a secret sanctuary within the boundaries of the farm. This ordinary desert dog becomes a hero when, to keep his promise, he saves a zebra foal from a fire.
These stories are perfect to be read before bedtime to younger children. Preteens will enjoy escaping into an imaginary world where many bush creatures always have hope that everything ends well when the sun goes down.