Review Blog

May 02 2012

The leopard boy by Julia Johnson

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Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2012. ISBN 9781 84780 213 2
(Ages: 8+) Warmly recommended. Endangered animals. Khalid minds the goats on the mountain bringing them back to the village at night. When a kid is missing he searches the site for hours trying to find it, concluding that it has been taken by a wild animal. His uncle sets a trap for the animal, displeased that a kid is missing, but also not wanting a possible sighting of a leopard to spoil his plans to sell some land around the village for building material. When Khalid meets an old man who lives alone in the mountains, he learns a different attitude to the animals, and longs to see a leopard for himself, spending many hours with the man and learning his skills.
One day they meet and spend several nights on the mountain and finally get to see a leopard and its cub. Khalid is overjoyed at the sight, but when he returns home, finds his uncle is about to sign an agreement with the developers. He is beaten and locked away until his mother helps him escape.
A neat resolution sees the villagers turning their hands to another way of making money and at the same time, protecting the leopards which live in their mountains. A wonderful story of endangered animals and what the ordinary person can do to protect their environment is shown through the endearing tale of Khalid for middle primary students.
Fran Knight

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