Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WORLD WEDNESDAY: Travels with Gannon & Wyatt: Botswana by Patti Wheeler & Keith Hemstreet


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Gannon and Wyatt arrive in Botswana for an African safari, they find themselves tangled up in much more than a family vacation. After receiving word that a poacher has shot and wounded a lioness, they set off into the wild in the hopes of saving the mother and her cubs before the poacher finishes the job. While on this amazing journey, they encounter Africa’s Big Five - elephants, rhinos, cape buffalos, leopards, and lions?only to discover that the most dangerous predator in the African bush is not the king of beasts, but man himself.

In the tradition of the historic journals kept by explorers such as Lewis and Clark, Dr. David Livingstone, and Captain James Cook comes the adventure series Travels with Gannon and Wyatt. From Africa to the South Pacific, these twin brothers have traveled the world. You never know what they will encounter as they venture into the wild, but one thing is certain - wherever Gannon and Wyatt go, adventure is their constant companion.

You can find Gannon and Wyatt’s blog, photographs, and video footage from their real-life expeditions at travelswithgannonandwyatt.com.


REVIEW



Based on the real life adventures of Gannon and Wyatt, this book takes the reader deep into the heart of the African bush. While there the boys see incredible scenery, experience the thrill and excitement of being near lions, rhinos, water buffalo and other wildlife, and run into a poacher.  It is very easy for this type of book to come off as just another exaggerated safari adventure story.  But it doesn't feel that way at all.  In fact, I loved the factual information that the authors integrated so beautifully into the story.  It was also very clear that a lot of effort had gone into making the details of life in the Kalihari Desert and Okavango Delta accurate.  For me, as a student of geography, there is nothing more irritating than inaccurate information in a book like this.  But everything I read here matches with everything else I've read and seen about the area.  

After visiting the website, it's very clear (and the author note in the book confirms it) that the content in the book is based on actual visits and experiences in the region.  While the events depicted in the book did not happen per se (it is a novel after all), they are very much possibilities in that part of the world.

I enjoyed reading from both boys points of view.  Each brother has their own interests and way of seeing things and they are quite different.  Gannon is a very outgoing, personable boy who enjoys interacting with other people and learning about other cultures.  Wyatt is the science buff who is very exacting in what he records and focuses more on the environment and wildlife.  They make a great combination when it comes to telling the story.

Plot wise, the story moves along at a nice clip and the main theme (poaching) was introduced smoothly and appropriately. Encounters with animals, mechanical problems, and disease all create additional problems for the boys and their guides.  Luckily for them they have an experienced guide and native tracker/hunter to assist them.

For those who enjoy reading about nature and a fun adventure/survival story, I can enthusiastically recommend this one.


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