A Family for Faru Reviews

School Library Journal

Cover: A Family for Faru Author: Anitha Rao-Robinson Illustrator: Karen Patkau Publisher: Pajama Press

“Patkau’s bright digital illustrations show the greens, golds, and browns of the savanna and accurately portray the South African wildlife, making them easy for young readers to recognize. Rao-Robinson’s plot is predictably heartwarming and the text fun to read as listeners can stomp, slurp, and crash through the savanna along with Faru. VERDICT Having wide appeal, this story can introduce a range of topics, from adoption to African animals to endangered species. Young listeners will enjoy the introductory trek through the savanna and cheer when Faru finds a family.”
—Kristine M. Casper, Huntington P.L., NY

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Kirkus Reviews

“Fiction and nonfiction meet as a boy seeks to save an orphaned rhino….This picture book offers a colorful portrayal of a gentle rhino and a boy who cares for him and helps him survive. Readers will encounter many other animals throughout the savanna in Patkau’s illustrations, including egrets, giraffes, an ostrich, guinea fowl, and vervet monkeys. Young readers will also enjoy finding small insects, reptiles, and mammals along the journey. The backmatter offers insightful details on the poaching of rhinos, their endangered status, conservation efforts to save them, and Rao-Robinson’s story of her encounter with rhinos in South Africa that inspired the book.

A gentle story that helps children understand why wildlife conservation matters and why they should care.”

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Horn Book Magazine

“Patkau’s digital illustrations use shadows, reflections, and bright colors against the greens and browns of the savannah to make the figures pop. The presence of an armed ranger guarding the rhinos underscores the reality of protecting creatures from poachers, as described in an appended note. But it is the warm relationship between Tetenya and Faru, and the young boys’ bravery, that children will most likely remember.”
—Susan Dove Lempke

Read the full review in the November/December 2020 issue of Horn Book Magazine

CM Magazine

“An excellent feature of A Family for Faru is that it ends with age-appropriate factual information about rhinos that is worded in comprehendible, child-friendly language. There are brief descriptions about the history and appeal of rhinos, including why they have become an endangered species and where they can be found in the world. To add a personal touch at the end of this educational story, Anitha Rao-Robinson includes more about a family experience which inspired her passion for rhinos, and, in turn, inspired A Family for Faru. Both the story plot and end note are written in a way which is likely to be understood by a young audience and which encourages empathy towards animals….Smooth and distinctive images by award-winning illustrator Karen Patkau transport readers to the savannah setting….Beautifully written and illustrated, A Family for Faru is a most worthwhile addition to library collections. Recommended.”
—Andrea Boyd

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A Family for Faru is a touching picture book that combines a good story with, at the back of the book, a section pertaining to the plight of the endangered rhinoceros. The inspiration for the story involves a way that groups are researching that makes these incredible animals of no value to poachers. Excellent illustrations complement the story.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Anitha Rao-Robinson’s story is one of friendship and compassion but also conservation as her final note about ‘Rhinos’ elucidates….Anitha Rao-Robinson’s text evokes the camaraderie of rhino and boy in their companionable activities, whether it be collecting waterberries or hiking or resting and it’s Karen Patkau’s extraordinary digitally-rendered art that takes us to the savannah. Whether conjuring the acacia and jackalberry trees or the wildlife of Fatu and Tetenya’s home or the warmth of the grasslands habitat with her organic shapes and earthy colours, Karen Patkau’s illustrations take young readers to a land where a rhino can be protected by a boy and the bad guys can be thwarted by a clever child and a handful of berries.”

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Green Teacher

“This story of a connection between a boy, Tetanya, and an orphaned rhinoceros, Faru, helps children understand conservation and care for wildlife….Infused in the story are the wonderful sound effects of the African savannah. This story will prompt children and elementary classes to engage in discussions of conservation, environmental awareness, and hope for change.”

Read the full review in the Spring 2021 issue of Green Teacher Magazine