Book Review: Patti Wheeler & Keith Hemstreet’s Botswana

Posted June 24, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Patti Wheeler & Keith Hemstreet’s Botswana



Keith Hemstreet, Patti Wheeler

It is part of the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt series and is a action & adventure that was published by Green Leaf Books on May 28, 2013 and has 160 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books in this series include Ireland

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Ireland

A story in the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt children’s educational/adventure series. This particular adventure takes place in Botswana in Africa.

This is an ARC provided by the publisher, and it won the 2013 National Outdoor Book Awards.

My Take

This is clever and great fun. It’s a blend of true story and fiction as the authors make use of Gannon and Wyatt’s videos, blog, and photographs to tell a boy’s life tale. The brothers “also founded the Youth Exploration Society (Y.E.S.), an organization of young people … passionate about making the world a better place”. There’s a useful section of translated phrases in English/Setswana included in the front of the book.

The boys’ mother works for an airline which means free travel anywhere while the boys’ father is an artist; together they encourage their homeschooled boys to explore life.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.

“– Mark Twain

The POV switches back and forth between the boys, and it reflects their personalities. Wyatt will get excited about how much grass an elephant can eat while Gannon wants to experience people. Wyatt provides the geography while Gannon “thinks friendliness can be understood anywhere, by anyone”, “stopping to talk to random people”, and exposing the reader to the different cultures the boys encounter. It makes for a balanced view on their adventures! — as well as creating a more interesting story that’s easier to write.

It’s a lovely way to get the kids to read facts while providing adventure in story form — the poacher encounter has a feel of Nancy Drew to it. I can just see Nancy doing the clever bit with the radio! There’s no end of excitement when their parents give the boys permission to go along on a hunt to rescue a wounded lioness and her cubs. The animals who prowl the camp at night, the lack of AAA for roadside assistance (!), and experiencing the need for quick thinking!!

The boys are definitely brothers, the way they snap and snarl, but they’re there for each other when it counts.

The Story

It’s been awhile since the family’s last adventure and talk at the supper table eventually settles on Botswana. A useful trip as their father has a commission to create an animal sculpture for an art collector.

A childhood friend of their mother’s is married to a man who runs a safari camp and that’s where the family heads. It’ll be a fabulous opportunity to interact with the people who live there, to experience their daily life: the happinesses and the travails, the fun and the terror.

Part of the terror is poaching, and when Tcori warns Chocs that a poacher has wounded a lioness with four cubs, the boys beg permission to help. And more exciting, terrifying adventure!

The Characters

Fifteen-year-old twins, Wyatt is the brother who’s more scientifically inclined, more pedantic while Gannon is more of a seat-of-the-pants type, who loves to meet people and film life, planning to be a filmmaker when he grows up.

Edo’s Camp is a safari business run by Chocs, who will be the family’s guide (he has a degree in environmental science and zoology), and his daughter, Jubjub, who is also homeschooled.

Tcori, one of the last remaining hunters in his Bushmen tribe, has just returned from an expedition in the Okavango Delta. General Mozello is part of a search party and anti-poacher unit.

The Cover and Title

The cover finds the boys front and center in safari hats and shirts with an array of African animals gathered below them.

The title is to the point, for it is Botswana to which the family has traveled.


One response to “Book Review: Patti Wheeler & Keith Hemstreet’s Botswana

  1. Africa Safari Travel Guide | Travel , Booking & Leisure Guide

    […] Book Review: Patti Wheeler & Keith Hemstreet’s Botswana […]

Leave a Reply