This is a TERRIFIC book. Jill and I read this one together out loud. I can't say enough about how great it is to read a book out loud with your child. She loves it and I love it. We have a great time enjoying the adventure together...but something magical happens when we read together. I'll have to do some more thinking about just what the magic is and blog about that another time. The same thing happens when Peirce and I read together. We were reading stories in the van today while she was swimming and it was interesting to see how he wanted to snuggle - even though there was really not enough for him, me, the steering wheel, and a book about dinosaurs which seems to cause him to have to get up and roar and stomp around like a dinosaur in the middle of any given moment. I've made a commitment to myself that I'll spend time reading every day with Jill and with Peirce....so maybe in time I'll be able to put into words exactly what the 'magic' of it all is.
It was difficult at first for Jill to get into this book because the writing was a little difficult for her - but reading it aloud together really helped. The story has some surprising twists. It's a story about a girl that is left an orphan in Africa during the influenza epidemic of the early 1900's. She gets stuck in a plot of deception where she's used to help a nasty couple who is making people believe she is their deceased daughter so that they can secure a huge inheritance back in England. Her experiences leaving her beloved Africa and adjusting to live in England is really well-written. There's a ton to be learned about animals and the natural worlds of both Africa and England.
The story is a great one of integrity, courage, and winning even despite impossible situations. We were hooked on it early on. It's a book I would totally recommend. A great read-aloud!