Anderson, Robert. “Zimbabwean Tales”, 2011.
Delightful Original Folktales from Zimbabwe
I must admit that I know nothing about Zimbabwe except what I hear on the news. By surprise I received a package with Robert Anderson’s three stories about the country and my curiosity got the best of me and I sat down to read and did not stop until I had finished reading the three tales I was sent. Anderson knows Zimbabwe well and he really knows how to write and these stories that are written primarily for young readers had me mesmerized.
“The Adventures of Maisie the Meerkat & Buntie the Bushbaby-The Rescue of the Queen of Sheba’s Jewels” takes place about eight hundred years ago in Zimbabwe which was at that time the name of the town. Argo is a young Phoenician and his dog, Taurus, along with the rest of the family, has moved in. Dino, his father, is treasurer to the Queen of Sheba. As youngsters do, Argo wastes no time making friends and he became close to Masie the Meerkat, Arnold the Anteater and Bunti the Bushbaby. Kofi, the son of the queen’s head guard became his special friend.
Youngsters love adventure and Anderson gives us a wonderful one when a plan is hatched to steal the queen’s jewels. Of course, our boys are going to save the day and the treasures. Argo enlists the help of his African friends and Cuthbert and Cornelius the Crocodiles, Victor the Velvet Monkey and his monkey friends, Hinjinda, a witchdoctor and others. The story is pure pleasure and I must commend the writer on the names of the characters. I can the faces of children lighting up as they meet them.
“The Adventures of Fi the Firefly & Mombassa the Millipede –The Foiling of Hideous & Heidi the Hyenas’ Horrible Plot!” is the second tale and the fun and adventure continue. Zimbabwe is filled with excitement over the upcoming “Zimbabwe Follies”. There are acts already signed up to participate—Fi the Firefly, Myrtle the Mongoose, Percy the Porcupine and others. Hideous the Hyena and Heidi, his sister want to participate but this causes a problem because Scott and Scarlett, the Fabulous Flamingos are to judge the follies. The hyenas do not pass the audition and get a scathing review from local gossip columnist, Liz the Lizard. Hideous and Heidi are out for revenge and plan to bomb the show. Our other characters (animals) learn of the plan and. Of course, save the day.
“The Adventures of Lucy the Baboon and Charlie the Cheetah”, the third tale and here we meet David Lowles and his friend, Phineas. They live on a farm a bit away from the capital of what is now Zimbabwe. David adopts Lucy, a baboon and Charlie, a cheetah, orphans and the four become fast friends. David learns that he can speak the language of his friends. He is quite upset about animals that are living on islands that have been formed by the rising Zambezi River and the dam. The four decide to rescue the animals and bring them to solid ground on the mainland. Before they know they have others helping them (Ralph and his wife Cherry, a game ranger, Stephen the Stork, Simba, the lion cub, Rhonda the Rhino and calf, Rodney. Lucy and Charlie are concerned about their relatives in the area known as Kariba and want to rescue them. With the story coming to an end, we learn that David later becomes a veterinarian and opens a game reserve he names after Lucy and Charlie. Everyone stays in touch but we have to return to reality and leave these wonderful stories behind.
The tales are available on Kindle and are actually three separate reads. Anderson shows us his love for Zimbabwe with these wonderfully crafted stories. I imagine he had as much fun writing them as we do reading them.
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