The Adventures of Ellie & Boo
A nature-loving cat and her conservationist mum team up to save endangered species!
Boo the tabby cat is born on a Lincolnshire farm and seems destined for a simple life. Everything changes when she’s put up for adoption and is taken in by Ellie Caldwell, an adventurous Cambridge graduate student who loves animals and is studying to become a wildlife conservationist.
Between lectures, Ellie heads to the countryside for camping trips, her Instagram-anointed ‘adventure cat’ in tow. On rocky trails, Boo discovers that, like Ellie, she has a passion for the natural world, and because she’s able to communicate with all animals, she can relate their challenges back to Ellie. But there’s a serious problem: whenever Boo tries to tell Ellie something, all Ellie hears is “Meow.”
Can they work out a communication system, and in doing so, save endangered animals from harm while encouraging public support of nature and wildlife?
After looking at the front cover I wrongly assumed that the book was a story about conservation told by a child and their pet cat. The protagonist in the story is a 22-year-old university graduate who has been working in conservation in Africa. After deciding she wants to continue studying, she leaves doing what she loves to complete her Master’s degree at Cambridge University.
Despite my initial shock at the older protagonist, the story itself is a brilliant concept. Missing working with the big cats in Africa, Ellie decides to adopt a pet cat with a wild streak to match her personality. Keeping her new cat, Boo, in her university room is frustrating for the cat who longs to go outside. When Ellie starts taking Boo on her adventures, they form a bond stronger than any other cat and human. Ellie discovers that Boo cares about animals too, and together they are influential than ever.
I loved the message of the story and how it highlights the importance of conservation and ecology. The story was enjoyable and including an older protagonist may make some children keen to learn more about what university is and what they want to do when they are older. The organisation of protests, information about how humans impact the planet, and what we can do to help was fantastic.
However, my feelings on the book are rather conflicted. I don’t think book is necessarily marketed towards a children’s audience. There are far too many references to politics (there’s even a Brexit joke at one point), university terminology, and references to social media. For this to be a book that would stand the test of time it doesn’t need Brexit jokes, Instagram references, and hashtags galore. The age range the book is marketed towards isn’t old enough to use social media either.
It’s a great plot and idea, but it could have benefitted from having a younger protagonist, less politics and more child-friendly language. This is definitely a book that needs sharing with an adult as I don’t think a younger KS2 child would be able to pick up and read this easily alone.
A fantastic idea with a wonderful message.
Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-adventures-of-ellie-and-boo/millie-kerr/9781913208585
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adventures-Ellie-Boo-Millie-Kerr-ebook/dp/B088KPN1S6
Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Ellie-Boo-Millie-Kerr-ebook/dp/B088KPN1S6
Millie Kerr is an author, journalist and photographer focused on wildlife conservation. A former lawyer, Millie uses storytelling to help people see splendour and fragility of the natural world. Her creative essays and reported articles—which predominantly involve travel and wildlife—have appeared in dozens of top-tier American and British publications, among them The Economist, National Geographic Traveller, Popular Science, and The Wall Street Journal. Millie has also worked for numerous global conservation NGOs, both as an in-house writer and an external consultant; and her legal career saw her working in private practice and government. She graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Masters of Philosophy in Conservation Leadership and has lived between the UK and USA for fifteen years. Her adopted cat, Baboon, has been her constant companion, although unlike their fictitious counterparts, they only enjoy indoor adventures.
Social Media Links – Twitter @millieckerr Instagram @milliekerrphotography and also @millieckerr
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