Book Review: Kim’s Adventure Travels Book 1: Punch-Up in the Punjab!, by Peter Stephenson

An English family on holiday in Pakistan find adventure and cultural understanding in this exciting educational kid’s reader that teaches about other cultures.

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The first in a trilogy, Peter Stephenson makes a hero of Kim the Jack Russell Terrier by the second page and draws the young reader in, looking to see what is coming next from the very start. His protagonist family appeal to youngsters in the early tween years as they share many of the same personality characteristics.

The story follows the adventures of an English family on holiday in Pakistan. They intend to follow the travels of a great Uncle who, in times past, was a volunteer teacher in the area. The father in this family of four, provides the historical information whilst the mother gives cultural perspectives from her learning. The more detailed local information being provided by indigenous Pakistani characters who are integral to the adventure.

punjabcoverThis book is quite cute but lacks the sophistication and complexity that young people expect today, however it is an excellent vehicle for young people to transition to novels or for those experiencing reading difficulties.

The story is like an adventure cartoon script, complete with treasures, camping, escapes and villains shooting during a car chase. The writing style is easily accessible for young readers and provides a format that also allows this novel to be read in chapters by a teacher or parent. Each chapter concludes with prompts for discussion or even, perhaps, written exercises asking the reader/audience to reflect and predict the upcoming events.

Woven throughout the story are snippets of information covering history, native animals, landscapes and cultural practices in Pakistan as well as a vivid description of tourist sites and towns. It is written in simple language and provides details of the characters’ personalities and moral beliefs to form a well-rounded piece of storytelling linking differing cultural aspects with the overall acceptance of the heroine, Kim the Jack Russell Terrier.

This book leaves the reader wondering what adventure Kim and her family may find on their next vacation through India, and with a broad understanding of some of the struggles that some of the people of Pakistan face in their day to day lives.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

Rating out of 10:  7

Kim’s Adventure Travels Book 1: Punch-Up in the Punjab! is out now in paperback and eBook available through Amazon.

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