Because I can’t get enough of Africa and Africa-themed reading, I took a chance on this book, a children’s tale set in East Africa, written by a missionary mom for her children while they lived there. With a to-read pile that is about to bury me, A Chameleon, a Boy and a Quest isn’t the kind of book I would usually agree to review (I received a copy from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity Group). But I’m glad I did.
Think of it as a Lord-of-the-Rings style adventure–shorter, for sure, and not as well developed–but if your kids are into adventure stories that illustrate spiritual truths and point to redemption, then add it to your library.
Watch this video teaser of the book to get an idea of the author’s intent and the scope of the story.
By a few chapters in, I was hooked on Mu’s quest, the choices he had to make to survive, and the challenges he faced as this unexpected quest grew longer.
At its heart, the book is a story of identity, and I’m a big fan of stories that help children see themselves as unique and valuable, created by God for a purpose. One of my favorite exchanges in the book between Mu and the chameleon is this:
Mu, the boy, says, “Forgive my questioning, but I do not see how I could possibly have enemies interested in my whereabouts. … I cannot imagine who would be looking for me.”
A Chameleon, a Boy and a Quest is a story that will engage kids’ imaginations and open conversations about home, identity and how choices bring consequences. But it’s also a story that addresses some of the harsh realities African children face: some chapters include themes of trafficking and the actions of child soldiers. These aren’t to be avoided in a realistic conversation about Africa but should be approached with caution and open discussion depending on the ages and personalities of the children reading.
Mu’s quest made me miss the beautiful landscapes of Kenya I saw earlier this summer, and it reminded me that for many children in Africa, Mu’s story isn’t fiction.
You can learn more about the book and the author here.