Karen Cross, Blown to Rwanda (Banna and Bree #1), Self-published, 7 October 2014, 76pp., $9.95 (pbk), ISBN 9780994164506
Blown to Mission Beach, Australia (Banna and Bree #2), Self-published, 10 October 2014, 84pp., $9.95 (pbk) ISBN 9780994164513
Karen Cross’ deep passion for travel and animal conservation inspired this series about two baboons called Banna and Bree who live in the swampy grasslands of the Okavango Delta. In the first book, they are whisked away by an enchanted wind to the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. They quickly get caught up in a plot to save a silverback gorilla, which has been taken by poachers who aim to sell his body parts for large sums of money. In the second book, they are blown to Mission Beach, Australia, where a cyclone is just one of the threats to the local wildlife.
While the books have important messages about protecting the environment and animals, the conceit of baboons being blown across the world to other countries is difficult to believe. The storytelling at times fall into the didactic, with spelling mistakes and typographical anomalies proving distracting, which is a shame because there are some scenes of great tension and exciting action.
reviewed by Deborah Abela