New Growth Press (October 2015) 160 pages
A Boy Named Mu, an African Journey, and YouMy Thoughts:
Mu, a ten-year-old orphan, has lived his entire life in the heart of Africa. For as long as he can remember he has served in the household of a great-uncle where he is unloved and ignored. In his drudgery-filled life, Mu has little hope of happiness, and little hope that anything will ever change.
But one day, everything does change. On his way to draw water one morning, Mu is astonished when a chameleon greets him by name and announces that they will embark on a quest together. And what a quest it turns out to be! Mu faces danger and finds unexpected allies as they journey through a fascinating and ever-changing landscape.
A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest blends magical realism with a compelling story. The exciting story line combines an orphan's journey to find a home with the plight of child soldiers and the dangers of the Ebola virus and, along the way, highlights universal themes of integrity, loyalty, faith, and love. Written by long-time medical missionary J. A. Myrhe, the artful story is laced with subtle gospel themes and handles cross-cultural issues with grace and sensitivity. Kids will encounter good and evil and learn the truth about hope, happiness, and what it means to be human in this page-turning first book in a new series.
This book was written as a Christmas present for the author's children. I couldn't resist reading it knowing that. I imagined wonderful little lessons and conversation starters tucked within the pages. Really, that's just what I got. This is a book I won't mind keeping around for my boys! It's full of adventure and bravery, and even bad choices and forgiveness.
The story seems to be an allegory. No, those aren't usually my thing(at least in connection with Biblical teaching), but it mostly worked for me with this one. I can't overthink things, because then I start thinking about differences in beliefs and all that, so I didn't try to figure out what each thing meant. (Yes, I realize I'm missing out there, but I've also had to abandon other allegories when I overthought them.)I really liked this one, though.
I love that the book is set in Africa. I could do a unit study about Africa with my boys down the road with this book as the center source of information. It has wonderful detail concerning the landscape and the people, including daily life and many of the difficulties they face. There are some scenes, one in particular, that are tough to read. I don't think my boys are ready for some of the content right now. Younger children that are very sensitive might not be ready for it, either. I will gladly tuck our copy away on the shelves for the right moment, though!
It wasn't until the end, while I was reading the author's note, that I learned that this is the first book in a series. I'm super excited to read the others! This really is a beautiful book.
*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.
A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest