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We picked up the Crafty Chameleon by Mwenye Hadithi which has a brightly covered picture on the front of a Chameleon in a tree with lush green leaves behind it. The bright colours are immediately attractive and draw the eye in. My son has recently been on a bug hunt with the sure start centre so is currently incredibly interested in all insects and reptiles.
The story is of a clever Chameleon has a nice routine of sitting on a branch each morning catching flies with a whip of his tongue but each day his breakfast is interrupted by a leopard bouncing around in the trees and the chameleon is knocked to the ground. One morning the Chameleon threatens the leopard that he will tie him up like a dog. The leopard just laughs and wanders off.
During the evening the chameleon likes to drink by the river with other small animals but they were taunted by a crocodile that snaps and chases the small animals away. Just like he gets fed up of the leopard he tires of the Crocodile and gives the same threat to tie him up like a dog. The Crocodile is also highly amused.
The chameleon then puts his plan into action and asks the weaving birds to make him a rope. He captures the leopard with a lasso and asks him to wait and he will drag him like a dog and then does the same to the crocodile with the other end of the rope. He then changes colour and is camouflaged in the bushes between the two and shouts pull. The Leopard and crocodile pull each other back and forth until they are completely exhausted and then they promised to not bother the chameleon again before he set them free.
The book is illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway. I find these images to be simple but, colourful and very effective. The picture does fill the page but the chameleon leopard and Crocodile do stand out and your eye is drawn to the main character in the book. The illustrations do show how the chameleon changes colour dependent upon where he is hiding. I do feel the illustrations complement the book.
This book has been the most enjoyable for my son from our latest selection of library books. The book does teach about the habitat and environment of the Chameleon and does name the tree he sits in as a mugumu which is something that I would not of know so it is even teaching me. I do find the Chameleon and intriguing animal and it has meant we have been able to discuss a new kind of animal that I don't remember featuring in any other book we have read.
The text flows easily and there are some repetitive elements to the language which my son enjoys. It does also have sounds in large words like smack when the chameleon falls out the tree. When I have read this book he has at times just sat and listened but also continually asked questions.
I have very much enjoyed reading this book with my son and though it isn't a lifetime favourite for him he has certainly learnt something from this book and I would certainly be interested to look at other books by this author.
If you fancy purchasing this book it is available on Amazon For £3.97 with Free super saver delivery.
ISBN no. 978-0340486986
I have also noticed she has written a selection of books on other jungle animals which I shall certainly be looking out for.
I personally recommend you try the library for this book first as I don't think it is the kind of book my son wants to read over and over again although he has enjoyed borrowing it from the library for a few weeks.