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Akimbo and the Lions

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Ten-year-old Akimbo lives on a game preserve in Africa. His father is the head ranger, and Akimbo is eager to help him whenever he can—even if it means getting into some pretty dangerous situations. In Akimbo and the Lions, Akimbo helps his father set a trap for a lioness that has been attacking cattle on nearby farms. But when the lion they catch turns out to be a cub, Aki Ten-year-old Akimbo lives on a game preserve in Africa. His father is the head ranger, and Akimbo is eager to help him whenever he can—even if it means getting into some pretty dangerous situations. In Akimbo and the Lions, Akimbo helps his father set a trap for a lioness that has been attacking cattle on nearby farms. But when the lion they catch turns out to be a cub, Akimbo must find a way to care for the young lion until it's old enough to be released in the wild.


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Ten-year-old Akimbo lives on a game preserve in Africa. His father is the head ranger, and Akimbo is eager to help him whenever he can—even if it means getting into some pretty dangerous situations. In Akimbo and the Lions, Akimbo helps his father set a trap for a lioness that has been attacking cattle on nearby farms. But when the lion they catch turns out to be a cub, Aki Ten-year-old Akimbo lives on a game preserve in Africa. His father is the head ranger, and Akimbo is eager to help him whenever he can—even if it means getting into some pretty dangerous situations. In Akimbo and the Lions, Akimbo helps his father set a trap for a lioness that has been attacking cattle on nearby farms. But when the lion they catch turns out to be a cub, Akimbo must find a way to care for the young lion until it's old enough to be released in the wild.

30 review for Akimbo and the Lions

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Written by the author of the The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency , this is a sweet book for children. Akimbo's father is a warden for a game preserve somewhere in Africa (country is never made clear... I guess I imagined Kenya because of their amazing national park system). When a lion begins attacking farms surrounding the preserve, Akimbo and his father go to catch it and end up with a cub instead. Akimbo raises the cub and eventually releases it into the wild. Oscar and I really enjoyed thi Written by the author of the The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency , this is a sweet book for children. Akimbo's father is a warden for a game preserve somewhere in Africa (country is never made clear... I guess I imagined Kenya because of their amazing national park system). When a lion begins attacking farms surrounding the preserve, Akimbo and his father go to catch it and end up with a cub instead. Akimbo raises the cub and eventually releases it into the wild. Oscar and I really enjoyed this one!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jacoba

    Akimbo and the Lions by Alexander McCall Smith (1992) Genre: Early chapter book Format: Book Plot summary:When Akimbo and his park ranger father unintentionally capture a lion cub near an African game park, Akimbo wants to keep the cub. Considerations or precautions for readers advisory (strong language, sex, death, religious overtones, violence, etc.)No special considerations Review citation (if available):Kuntz, Patricia S. Multicultural Review , Spring2006, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p97-97, 1p Section sourc Akimbo and the Lions by Alexander McCall Smith (1992) Genre: Early chapter book Format: Book Plot summary:When Akimbo and his park ranger father unintentionally capture a lion cub near an African game park, Akimbo wants to keep the cub. Considerations or precautions for readers advisory (strong language, sex, death, religious overtones, violence, etc.)No special considerations Review citation (if available):Kuntz, Patricia S. Multicultural Review , Spring2006, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p97-97, 1p Section source used to find the material: School library journal Recommended age: Grades 3-5

  3. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    This book is an early chapter book that would be an interesting and exciting reading recommendation for both boys and girls. It also has information about animals and animal behavior as well as information about Africa. There are a series of Akimbo books about different animals for students who like this one. Note: Author is a bestselling author of adult books including the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency mysteries.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    Strong visual imagery of life on an African wildlife preserve as young Akimbo helps his park ranger father when word comes that a lion has been preying on cattle on nearby farms. The plan is to live-trap the lion and relocate the animal, but Akimbo and his dad are in for a surprise when they discover a lion cub left behind in the trap. His mother was frightened away and has left him behind. There is confusion about what to do, until Akimbo steps up and volunteers to raise the cub until the lion Strong visual imagery of life on an African wildlife preserve as young Akimbo helps his park ranger father when word comes that a lion has been preying on cattle on nearby farms. The plan is to live-trap the lion and relocate the animal, but Akimbo and his dad are in for a surprise when they discover a lion cub left behind in the trap. His mother was frightened away and has left him behind. There is confusion about what to do, until Akimbo steps up and volunteers to raise the cub until the lion is able to look out for himself. Eventually the day comes when Simba the cub grows into a formidable animal, and whose rough playing with humans is no longer safe or welcome. Akimbo is saddened to face the fact that his friend must return to the wild where he belongs. There's a great line spoken by the father in which he advises Akimbo that a lion will always be a wild animal, and he needs to accept and respect that. Humane families note: There are several good humane takeaways from this one. The park ranger's first instinct is to attempt to deal with the lion in a non-lethal way. Simba the lion is presented in a cute and sympathetic way, but there is a strong message that wild animals belong in their natural habitats and should not be kept as pets. Akimbo accepts this after observing Simba living as a wild lion. One point of discussion could be the park rangers' use of a live baby goat to lure the lion into the trap. While the goat is physically unharmed, he is terrified, and Akimbo notices this and feels empathetic with the little animal. Could there have been another way to lure the lion? Perhaps a recording of/scent of a goat or other prey animal?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Loralee

    I had no idea that Alexander McCall Smith had written so many childrens books! I got this to read solo with Mason but the older kids loved it so much too.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Um....... I dunno, this book was okay. For an adventure about lions on Africa, I found it a little boring, actually? For me there weren't enough details about the setting and especially the people and culture to make it seem realistic. This is the only one of the Akimbo books I've read and maybe I would like others better. Um....... I dunno, this book was okay. For an adventure about lions on Africa, I found it a little boring, actually? For me there weren't enough details about the setting and especially the people and culture to make it seem realistic. This is the only one of the Akimbo books I've read and maybe I would like others better.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gill

    Another African tale from AMS, nicely presented as a short story in seven chapters with a few line-drawing illustrations. One of a series about the adventures of the son of a ranger in an African game reserve.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is a review from my 7-year old daughter: "This is a REALLY good book!" Boy finds orphaned lion. Boy becomes attached to orphaned lion. Boy can't keep orphaned lion. Boy, at urging of his father, releases orphaned lion back into the wild. Boy realizes that he did the right thing. This is a review from my 7-year old daughter: "This is a REALLY good book!" Boy finds orphaned lion. Boy becomes attached to orphaned lion. Boy can't keep orphaned lion. Boy, at urging of his father, releases orphaned lion back into the wild. Boy realizes that he did the right thing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Very earnest and carefully written. The vocabulary and sentence length is controlled, the adventure is exciting and almost believable, the lessons about this part of Africa and about wildlife management are concise but hit all the important notes. I'm not particularly comfortable with the bit in the middle (view spoiler)[where Akimbo assumes the cub recognizes the boy as master (hide spoiler)] , but it's all ok in the end. Definitely good for families who are homeschooling or doing enrichment and Very earnest and carefully written. The vocabulary and sentence length is controlled, the adventure is exciting and almost believable, the lessons about this part of Africa and about wildlife management are concise but hit all the important notes. I'm not particularly comfortable with the bit in the middle (view spoiler)[where Akimbo assumes the cub recognizes the boy as master (hide spoiler)] , but it's all ok in the end. Definitely good for families who are homeschooling or doing enrichment and have kids who need interesting adventure stories that aren't too hard to read. Young me would have been bored with it, though.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maren

    Say what?! Alexander McCall Smith has written children's books? Now I can get my kids hooked on his writing early in life. I appreciate the fact that there are chapter books for kids about Africa, which seems like such a rarity to me. Keeping my fingers crossed that my kids enjoy this as much as I did. Say what?! Alexander McCall Smith has written children's books? Now I can get my kids hooked on his writing early in life. I appreciate the fact that there are chapter books for kids about Africa, which seems like such a rarity to me. Keeping my fingers crossed that my kids enjoy this as much as I did.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    Akimbo and his mom and dad live on a preserve where his dad is a ranger. Dad gets a call from a local farmer because a lion has been killing his cattle in his pen. Dad must either relocate the lion or kill it. He allows Akimbo to accompany him on this mission. They wind up trapping a cub which Akimbo cares for. Good for lower MG.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Good third/early fourth grade chapter book about Akimbo in the Africa. Akimbo lives on the reserve and tries to help his father catch elephant poachers. Clear book for exploring plot and how character choices drives plot. Good for teaching how to do literature circles.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ntebogeng Archer

    What's there not to love our a boy (like us) living in the jungle with animals for friendship going on adventures. The kids LOVED it. Only thing I don't like is the reference to Africa vs. giving the location a specific country name. To rectify that we imagined that Akimbo was somewhere in Kenya. What's there not to love our a boy (like us) living in the jungle with animals for friendship going on adventures. The kids LOVED it. Only thing I don't like is the reference to Africa vs. giving the location a specific country name. To rectify that we imagined that Akimbo was somewhere in Kenya.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jody

    This is a great short story with a cool moral at the end. Even my husband enjoyed it. Suitable for my fifth graders.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Fritzov

    Not one of the authors best. But I'm a huge fan so it works. Not one of the authors best. But I'm a huge fan so it works.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Maki

    A great short story about saving the elephants from poachers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    An exciting chapter book for young readers.......

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kb

    Read this with a Lovie. A good introduction to conservation and wildlife. Grateful for the ending, as we do not need another Tiger King scenario.

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

    Tried this as a car trip audio book, but it was a little long for the (almost) four year old. He got bored about 3/4 of the way through. But he remembered the plot pretty well later, so I suggested grabbing it when we were at the library and reading the last couple chapters in hard copy, and he was amenable. I wanted to see what happened. I liked this book. The fact that it was a bit longer and more involved made me pay more attention, even as my son paid a little less attention. I like that Aki Tried this as a car trip audio book, but it was a little long for the (almost) four year old. He got bored about 3/4 of the way through. But he remembered the plot pretty well later, so I suggested grabbing it when we were at the library and reading the last couple chapters in hard copy, and he was amenable. I wanted to see what happened. I liked this book. The fact that it was a bit longer and more involved made me pay more attention, even as my son paid a little less attention. I like that Akimbo's dad lets him tag along on a problematic lion call. Not every dad would do that. I also like that Akimbo's mom just rolls with it when they show up with a lion to keep as a pet. Basically what I'm saying is, Akimbo's parents are cool.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    Akimbo and the Lions by Alexander McCall Smith has potential to be a good classroom book and teaching aid but is, in part, an unoriginal adventure book. As we would expect, McCall Smith brings Africa to life very well and the book is brimming full of words to develop younger children’s vocabulary, particularly animal words. The book also introduces the idea of a food-chain and we learn that the name of the lion, Simba, is Swahili for lion. The book is therefore a good cross-curricular tool which Akimbo and the Lions by Alexander McCall Smith has potential to be a good classroom book and teaching aid but is, in part, an unoriginal adventure book. As we would expect, McCall Smith brings Africa to life very well and the book is brimming full of words to develop younger children’s vocabulary, particularly animal words. The book also introduces the idea of a food-chain and we learn that the name of the lion, Simba, is Swahili for lion. The book is therefore a good cross-curricular tool which could be used for bringing subjects such as Geography to life, or for discussing other cultures. The element of danger and adventure in the book would keep 7 year olds interested throughout and there are opportunities to promote discussion and problem solving by asking the children questions related to the book such as, ‘How would you catch the lion?’ or ‘Would Akimbo’s idea work?’. There is also an excellent chapter in the book on friendship and the book includes a very clever part which leads to a paradigm shift in how the reader perceives the lion. This could easily be used to explore the concept of friendship with a class more generally. That said the illustrations in the book are very poor to the point where they add no value to the book whatsoever, calling the lion Simba is unoriginal (the protagonist in the ‘Lion King’ is called Simba of course) and the end of the story is very much like the story of the Roman slave Androcles who pulls the thorn out of the lion’s paw. There is also a point in the story where Akimbo asks his father to sing a song and, as a PGCE student, I felt robbed when McCall Smith didn’t actually bother to write the song and include it – it looks like this will have to be a class activity then! This is a good, unoriginal book with lots of potential as a cross-curricular tool.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela Tuson

    I'm not like the use of 'it' for anyone non-human. It's not only incorrect (and confusing) grammatically, it's disrespectful and just doesn't ... sound right. My book club are liking this a lot less than the Hilary McKay book. I'm not like the use of 'it' for anyone non-human. It's not only incorrect (and confusing) grammatically, it's disrespectful and just doesn't ... sound right. My book club are liking this a lot less than the Hilary McKay book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Salsabrarian

    By the author of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Akimbo lives on the edge of an animal game reserve in Africa where his father has been named head ranger. One afternoon Akimbo goes along with his father and a park team to visit a farmer whose cows have been attacked by a lion. Akimbo's father sets a trap for the lion but it ends up capturing the lion's cub. Since it appears unlikely that the lion will return for her cub, the cub is brought to the game park where Akimbo proudly feeds and b By the author of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Akimbo lives on the edge of an animal game reserve in Africa where his father has been named head ranger. One afternoon Akimbo goes along with his father and a park team to visit a farmer whose cows have been attacked by a lion. Akimbo's father sets a trap for the lion but it ends up capturing the lion's cub. Since it appears unlikely that the lion will return for her cub, the cub is brought to the game park where Akimbo proudly feeds and befriends it. The lion, named Simba, eats and grows and Akimbo knows at some point that the lion's future must be discussed. That time comes when Simba escapes his run and pounces upon but doesn't hurt a villager. Simba is released into the bush; several months later Akimbo is happy to recognize him from a distance while camping out in the bush.

  23. 4 out of 5

    (NS) Panagiota Angelos

    The audio CD version of Akimbo and the Lions is read by the author Alexander McCall Smith. This fictonal story is the second of a book series featuring the character Akimbo. The story is geared for students in grades 3-5. I was immediately drawn into the audio CD because of the author's distinctive voice. I felt the story started a little slow, but became more interesting after ~10 minutes. The story takes place in Africa where Akimbo and his father, a park ranger, go out to capture a lion who is The audio CD version of Akimbo and the Lions is read by the author Alexander McCall Smith. This fictonal story is the second of a book series featuring the character Akimbo. The story is geared for students in grades 3-5. I was immediately drawn into the audio CD because of the author's distinctive voice. I felt the story started a little slow, but became more interesting after ~10 minutes. The story takes place in Africa where Akimbo and his father, a park ranger, go out to capture a lion who is attacking a farmer's cattle. The two unintentionally catch a lion cub and Akimbo is allowed to care for and raise him. Akimbo names the cub, Simba, and they become very close. However, trouble starts when Simba is nearly full grown and Akimbo mustdecide what to do with him.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judi Paradis

    Akimbo's father is a game warden in an African nature preserve, so Akimbo often gets involved in adventures as his father cares for and protects wild creatures. In this story,Akimbo adopts a baby lion after his mother is chased off some farm land. Kids will enjoy reading about how he comes to find the lion cub, and will be able to imagine raising it. Of course, when the cub finally grows to an adult lion, the readers will worry right along with Akimbo about what will become of him. An interestin Akimbo's father is a game warden in an African nature preserve, so Akimbo often gets involved in adventures as his father cares for and protects wild creatures. In this story,Akimbo adopts a baby lion after his mother is chased off some farm land. Kids will enjoy reading about how he comes to find the lion cub, and will be able to imagine raising it. Of course, when the cub finally grows to an adult lion, the readers will worry right along with Akimbo about what will become of him. An interesting look at life in modern-day Africa.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Books Kids Like

    A marauding lion is killing livestock on a farm near the reserve. When Akimbo’s father and his men set out for the farm, Akimbo begs to come along. His wish is granted. At the farm, the men set up an elaborate trap to catch the lion. The night after the trap was built, Akimbo and his father stand watch. Akimbo sleeps a little. Soon after he wakes up, the goat begins to bleat. A dim shape moves towards the stockade. Then, Akimbo hears a thud and a loud roar. The trap’s gate has been sprung, and t A marauding lion is killing livestock on a farm near the reserve. When Akimbo’s father and his men set out for the farm, Akimbo begs to come along. His wish is granted. At the farm, the men set up an elaborate trap to catch the lion. The night after the trap was built, Akimbo and his father stand watch. Akimbo sleeps a little. Soon after he wakes up, the goat begins to bleat. A dim shape moves towards the stockade. Then, Akimbo hears a thud and a loud roar. The trap’s gate has been sprung, and the lion is trapped inside. Or so they thought.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Margery Bayne

    A good children's book. It is very short, but I think it could appeal to an older age range because of it's enticing topic, that of a boy who lives on a game reserve in Africa and, in this book of the series, helps raise an abandoned lion cub. It is a book with only one plot, one mind, but I think it teaches a lot about animals, about game reserves, about this other culture without it seeming for an instant like it is teaching. I tried reading the first book of this series and while I liked the A good children's book. It is very short, but I think it could appeal to an older age range because of it's enticing topic, that of a boy who lives on a game reserve in Africa and, in this book of the series, helps raise an abandoned lion cub. It is a book with only one plot, one mind, but I think it teaches a lot about animals, about game reserves, about this other culture without it seeming for an instant like it is teaching. I tried reading the first book of this series and while I liked the writing style, I was not engaged with the plot.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Onay

    At my daughter's request, I read this book, and yes, It is a very good book. I have enjoyed the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series by the same author. I find them as good "in between books". Between heavier books, I like a little more lightness, and the Ladies' series provides that, though still with substance and thought. I suppose I should put this review there? In any case, this is a fun, quick read for a 7 year old, and for a 37 year old as well. At my daughter's request, I read this book, and yes, It is a very good book. I have enjoyed the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series by the same author. I find them as good "in between books". Between heavier books, I like a little more lightness, and the Ladies' series provides that, though still with substance and thought. I suppose I should put this review there? In any case, this is a fun, quick read for a 7 year old, and for a 37 year old as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Max & Izzy

    Review by a seven year "I liked it as it's about a lion and a boy called Akimbo. He lives with his father, brother and two other men. They have a green truck which they use to save animals. Akimbo lives in an animal reserve with only his family. The nearest village is three miles away. Akimbo And his father go camping to see the lion cub It is a sad story in the beginning and it gets happier. I enjoyed it Review by a seven year "I liked it as it's about a lion and a boy called Akimbo. He lives with his father, brother and two other men. They have a green truck which they use to save animals. Akimbo lives in an animal reserve with only his family. The nearest village is three miles away. Akimbo And his father go camping to see the lion cub It is a sad story in the beginning and it gets happier. I enjoyed it

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I don't normally review the books my kids and I read together, but this book was so enjoyable. I wanted a chapter series to read to my son. After unsuccesfully trying a few popular series (Big Nate -no thanks, that kid is a jerk), I found this out-of-print series at the library. There are only a handful, but we are all looking forward to reading the rest of the books. Adventure, suspense, kindness, just a good solid story. I don't normally review the books my kids and I read together, but this book was so enjoyable. I wanted a chapter series to read to my son. After unsuccesfully trying a few popular series (Big Nate -no thanks, that kid is a jerk), I found this out-of-print series at the library. There are only a handful, but we are all looking forward to reading the rest of the books. Adventure, suspense, kindness, just a good solid story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I listened to this audio book in English. The Akimbo series is nice for young readers. I wish there were more details, like which country Akimbo lives in. The themes of wild animals vs. humans is an interesting topic to discuss with children, I like that the series is caring for animals but also careful about keeping a safe distance.

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