What a joy! I am positively beaming after reading Nizrana Farook's final book in her utterly brilliant Serendib series (out in April). These books have captured not only my heart and imagination but those of the children in my school in Watford, as Nizrana is our local author. For three years now I have taught a half-term English sequence on 'The Girl Who Stole an Elephant' for my Year 4 classes. The written outcomes have been super, but Nizrana's books have inspired the children's love of reading too. When she came for our Book Week, children in KS2 were in complete awe of her and there were huge queues to get signed copies. She is an absolute superstar in our eyes and 'The Boy Who Saved a Bear' is a triumphant, joyous end, although we all cannot wait for what new things Nizrana Farook will write next. (Links to my reviews of all her books are below)
'The Boy Who Saved a Bear' is an exhilarating, pacy final adventure that is everything we have come to expect from a Nizrana Farook MG title. Her ability to bring to life the exotic, colourful terrain of Serendib is as vital and vivid as ever, as we follow Nuwan and the bear he befriends on a perilous journey to the Queen's palace to return a precious key. I am in awe of how she does this with such short chapters that always tempt you to read more, balancing action, description and dialogue perfectly for young readers. I loved how Nuwan's confidence in himself grows as his relationship with the bear and his friend Sani strengthens. With all of Nizrana's books having an animal at its heart, this one feels the most personal and surprising. The bear is wonderfully brought to life, evocative of the Jungle Book without ever feeling over the top. Nizrana knows how to juggle the dramatic and the subtle.
As the book drew to a close, I found myself welling up with tears; not only for what this series has represented to me and my school, but also in the way that Nizrana beautifully pulled together all the characters we have grown to love in Serendib. This is a series I will cherish forever. Thank you Nizrana for being such an inspiration to me and my pupils! We really wish you all the success with your next, new writing adventure.
My review of 'The Girl Who Stole an Elephant' here.
My review of 'The Boy Who Met a Whale' here.
My review of 'The Girl Who Stole a Leopard' here.