Savanna’s Treasure

C. Behrens

Publisher: C. Behrens Pages: 132 Price: (paperback) $8.99 ISBN: 9780692295199 Reviewed: July, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

In C. Behrens’s compelling middle grade book, a mouse and baby elephant develop a special bond while battling poachers, predators, hunger and more.

After an adventurous day in the hot, dry Serengeti grasslands, two mice, Shamba and Panya, return to a park rangers’ camp where they live with zoologist Sarah. Upon arrival, they find their camp burned down and abandoned. Nailed to a tree is a known poacher’s bandana. He’s one of three men who kill elephants for their tusks and capture mice to sell to villagers for food.

Shamba and Panya narrowly escape the poachers by hitching a ride on an affable giraffe and jumping aboard a passing Jeep. But sadly, Panya loses his grip and is temporarily left behind. Meanwhile, Shamba comes upon Kali, the baby in an elephant family. The herd is plotting to migrate to cooler land outside the park, even though this makes them more vulnerable to poachers.

When tragedy strikes, Shamba and Kali find themselves alone, with Shamba frantic as Kali appears close to death. Soon help arrives; as Shamba clings to Kali’s ear, park rangers find Kali and take her to an elephant orphanage where she’s reunited with Sarah. But there’s no room to spare there, and as the three are put on a ship to America, they find themselves in another fix.

The book’s narrative is smooth and well-paced, interspersed with exciting close calls, twists and turns. The action sequences are so descriptive they seem cinematic, and soft illustrations enhance the visuals.

Additionally, Behrens skillfully endows the many animals with distinct personalities. Some share warm camaraderie, and their dialogue is filled with endearing pleasantries: “‘I’m very sorry to have knocked you down, Mr. Mouse,’ said the giraffe.” Readers will cheer when the animals outsmart their enemies.

This is more than a story about bravery, friendship, respect, and empathy; it’s also about the fragility of our world’s vulnerable creatures. All told, Savanna’s Treasure is an engaging, delightful offering.

Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Montvale, New Jersey
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