The first of Lauren St John's heartwarming White Giraffe series, featuring the adventures of a young orphan girl and a magical white giraffe in exotic Africa.
When she is eleven years old, Martine is orphaned and sent to live with her grandmother on a game reserve in South Africa. Her grandmother seems strangely unwelcoming and Martine has a difficult time settling in at her new school, where she is conspicuously an outsider. But she has an ally in Tendai - one of the keepers on the reserve, from whom she learns the lore and survival techniques of the bush, and in Grace - who instantly senses there is something special about Martine.
There are secrets about Sawubona (the reserve) just waiting to be revealed, and rumours too about a fabled white giraffe - a trophy for hunters everywhere. One night Martine, lonely and feeling slightly rebellious too, looks out of her window and see a young albino giraffe - silver, tinged with cinnamon in the moonlight. This is the beginning of her mysterious and magical adventures - her discovery of her gift of healing and a secret valley that she travels to with the giraffe, where she'll find clues about her past and future.
Above all it's is a heart-warming story, full of charm and atmosphere, and Martine's sheer delight in her giraffe friend and the fantastic landscape which is theirs to explore.
St. John, whose author's note explains that she grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe that was partially a game reserve, brings characters and setting to life with equal clarity in her debut children's book. Her tale centers on recently orphaned Martine, who moves from England to South Africa to live with the grandmother she's never met. The woman, whose husband died at the hands of animal poachers, owns Sawubona, a game reserve and wildlife sanctuary. Soon after the 11-year-old's arrival, a Zulu healer with second sight tells the girl that she has a special gift and warns her that it "can be a blessin' or a curse. Make your decisions wisely." The perceptive woman also mentions there are "too many secrets at Sawubona"; indeed, Martine's many questions to her stony grandmother are met by a "wall of silence." Martine is intrigued by rumors that an elusive white giraffe resides on the grounds of the reserve a local legend holds that the child who is able to ride a white giraffe will have power over all the animals. When she encounters the gentle creature one night, she feels an immediate bond and even knows what he's thinking. And though it comes as no surprise that she is the youngster capable of fulfilling the legend, St. John provides plenty of unexpected twists. For his part, Dean contributes charming watercolor illustrations that open each chapter. A fast pace, strong supporting cast and ample drama including an especially theatrical finale will serve the story well in its film adaptation, which Walden Media is developing with Twentieth Century Fox. Ages 8-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I loved this book so much! As a 10 year old I found this book very interesting. I found out about this book at school when our teacher asked us to compare the opening chapter of this book and our book to focus on for the term. I went home and my mother bought the book from iBooks and I instantly began reading. I fell in love with it and struggled to put it down again. I am now continuing the series and really enjoying it. I would definitely recommend this book. Warning: you may spend hours reading and really struggle to put it down once you have began. Overall this book is probably one of the best books I have ever read. Xxx
Amazing I want to be like martine except I’m very sporty,
Still I wake up and want to get that last bit off the book.
Every bit is thrilling and I love it
1st lauren book i read
First book of my fav auor i ever read, will treasure it forever, lovely book. AMAZING.