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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 02/2022
  • B09NT422HR
  • 209 pages
  • $6.99
Paperback Details
  • 01/2022
  • 9781639881062
  • 209 pages
  • $17.99
Georja Umano
Author
Terriers in the Jungle
Georja Umano, author

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Publish)

Small and clever California street dogs, Roxie and Romeo, get adopted by a wildlife conservationist. The two adore each other, their home, and their mom Kate. But Kate decides the family will move to Kenya to help save endangered elephants. The dogs must now learn to survive in the midst of wildlife, dangerous people, and challenging circumstances. Told in their own words and based on real-life experiences.

Reviews
A pair of rambunctious terrier mixes star in this conservation-minded debut by Umano. Romeo and Roxie, two dogs adopted from the pound by their owner, Kate, are enjoying a perfect life near the Pacific Ocean when Kate decides to pack up the family and head to Kenya–where she can finally help conservationists in their efforts to save African elephants from poaching. Romeo and Roxie are up for the adventure, as long as they get to stay with Kate, whom Romeo fondly describes as the first person to teach him “how to be part of a family and to be loved.” But the trip turns out to be more than everyone bargained for, as both the dogs and Kate are forced to draw on their inner resilience to survive.

Animal lovers will immediately fall in love with Romeo and Roxie and their curiosity-driven hijinks in Africa. When baboons move into their home area, the dogs waver between fear and sympathy after locals tell them the only safe way to get rid of the troop is to kill their leader–and Roxie’s run-in with a mother baboon protecting her baby is as much comical as it is sweet. Romeo, who never falls short on bravery, is also an intuitive cross-species communicator: after the trio meets their first elephant, and Kate astutely says “All the animals and people are connected,” Romeo leads canines and pachyderm in howling song.

Umano strikes a nice balance between action and feel-good moments throughout the story, and even the heartbreaking sections circle back to her overarching theme of connectedness. Multiple illustrators have contributed black and white renderings of the story’s animals and happenings, bringing different African species, as well as Romeo and Roxie, to life. Readers with a soft spot for wildlife will appreciate the list of conservationist organizations Umano includes at the end.

Takeaway: Two terriers take on the wilds of Africa in this spirited tale of conservation and animal protection.

Great for fans of: Brian Doyle’s Mink River; Barbara Gowdy’s The White Bone.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: B+
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B

Umano tells her gentle and funny debut from the point of view of two spunky terriers, Romeo and Roxie. Widowed naturalist and writer Kate moves from Santa Monica to Nairobi, Kenya, with her father, Horace, and her two little dogs on a grand adventure to help save the African elephants. Taking turns narrating, Romeo, an injured rescue who finds it difficult to trust people, and Roxie, his energetic and cheerful girlfriend, describe their long plane ride to Africa and their new home where they confront chattering monkeys, scare away toothy crocodiles, and finally meet the majestic and humongous elephants. The dogs help Kate wrangle baby elephants, play with the girls at the home for unwed young mothers where Kate works, and marvel at how an elephant saves their lives. The new location and activities build Romeo’s confidence, changing him from a hopeless lame shelter dog into a brave partner in Kate’s noble endeavors. “Fate brings us together, and our bonds will never be broken!” declares Romeo. Young and old readers alike will take a fancy to Umano’s heartwarming travelogue filled with childlike whimsy and playful illustrations. (Self-published)
Barbara Lovett, President, Save Nosey Now, Inc.

I laughed and cried and did a lot of smiling. I love dogs, so hearing the story from their point of view was fun and endearing.The story was heartening and positive. It’s powerful.

Cynthia Moss, Director, Amboseli Trust for Elephants

Elephants and dogs—two of my favorite things. Who wouldn’t enjoy these charming tales told from the point of view of Romeo, the Jack Russell, rat terrier, chihuahua mix of mischief.

Gabriel Dinda, Founder and Executive Director, Writers Guild-Kenya

What a story! Speaks to the heart on all that matters. The author has managed to capture my attention from the beginning to the end. It is only when I finished reading that I realized I had learnt so much from this story. Brilliant!

Jane Gillis, Retired Special Collections Librarian, Beinecke Library, Yale Unive

I really loved it. Roxie and Romeo are so different (just as people are so different ) and their personalities come across superbly. We also experience the care and love they have for each other. The illustrations are lovely and whimsical.

Judy Carman, Author, Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul

Terriers in the Jungle is a wonderful revolutionary book that both entertains and raises important animal issues. It will help readers feel compassion and understanding for many animals.

Morrie Ruvinsky, Author/Producer - Dream Keeper, Myth Quest

Two very privileged and literate Jack Russells from Santa Monica go to Africa. What could possibly go wrong? Told by the dogs themselves, Romeo and Roxie spin a fanciful tale with a surprising bittersweet resolution. Can’t wait to see what happens when Disney gets their hands on it.

Nikki Sharp, Executive Director, Wildlife SOS-USA

Terriers in the Jungle is a novel that all animal lovers should add to their library.The story combines an African adventure with a message of conservation and humanity, all told through the lighthearted perspective of two rescued dogs.  If you haven’t already started on your journey to protecting elephants, you will once you’ve completed the book.

Raju Chacko, Reedsy Discovery

A thoroughly enjoyable novel centered on animals and wildlife in which dogs and elephants steal the limelight!

“I’m a small dog, and I used to live in a gutter.” This endearing first line by Romeo, one narrator, captures your heart right at the beginning of Terriers in the Jungle: A Novel by Georja Umano. He was lame due to injury at one point, but even after recovering, had a limp all his life. My heart went out to him because he personifies the homeless and helpless who are still grateful for life’s blessings. He personifies the rare few in life who are content in their circumstances. Who wouldn't be touched by such a humble creature whose life teaches us what we humans need to do to live happily?

The story has the wildlife and outdoors of Africa at its heart, with elephants stealing the limelight. Kate, Romeo’s owner, and ‘Mom,’ is a passionate wildlife conservationist based in California. She travels to Africa on a two-year trip along with her father to study more about African wildlife. Romeo and his girlfriend Roxie accompany them. The story mainly narrates significant happenings of that trip as seen through the eyes of Romeo and Roxie.

Without a doubt, the story is superb. It’s amazingly absorbing! What I liked most is that it reminds us to treat the animals (and non-human life) that co-habit the earth with us with love, understanding, and respect, particularly doing our bit to seriously tackle and stamp down cruelty against them. Thoughts flow smoothly and the writing is so clear that I found it hard to put the book down when I had to take breaks. The book is practically error-free, and the interspersed humor and occasional narratives of dangerous events add to its appeal. Forests form a green and spooky background and every time a forest-related narrative shifts course, your heart begins to beat fast: In your mind, you ask, “Is there something scary coming up around the corner?” Putting it all together, this is one excellent book, very interesting, and well-worth reading!

That said, I’d like to add a note of caution for hardcore wildlife conservationists: please remember that this is a novel that merely has a conservationist at its center. Consequently, whatever details regarding wildlife you find in it are purely incidental, but not primary. So don’t expect in-depth details about wildlife, like how seriously committed to wildlife conservation the African Gov is, critical shortcomings in conservation activities/plans, and so on.

The right audience for this book is lovers of nature, animals, and wildlife all across the globe. Those employed in forestry, forest care, wildlife conservation, animal care/welfare, and animal rights will also enjoy it. It’ll be a pleasure to read for casual readers. It’ll also be a splendid book for English-educated children everywhere, as children, by very nature, are die-hard fans and lovers of animals, forests, and wildlife.

Ricarda Franco, Co-Founder, Dexter Foundation

I just finished reading the book and it was wonderful. So touching and uplifting all at once. It made me happy and I cried a good bit too.

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 02/2022
  • B09NT422HR
  • 209 pages
  • $6.99
Paperback Details
  • 01/2022
  • 9781639881062
  • 209 pages
  • $17.99

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