4 out of 4 stars
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Maadi's Adventures in Egypt by Bill Wilke is an exciting and educational tale about a dog's adventures in Egypt narrated by the dog! Maadi describes herself in the following words: "My father, Wolf, is a Siberian husky, and my mother, Sonia, a black lab. My combination of husky and black lab results in confusion between the husky call of the wild, and the obedient black lab genes. I was named after a suburb of Cairo, Maadi, which is pronounced Maudy."
Well, obviously, dogs cannot talk or write, so this story is fiction, but the dog on which the story is based is real. The ficticious Maadi tells the story of living in Egypt with her humans, Bob and Kathy. She relates her conversations with dogs, but other than dogs talking with each other, their actions remain true to the character of dogs. Maadi does things that a dog would do in real life. In her interactions with Bob and Kathy and other humans, she acts as a real dog would.
Bill Wilke worked in Egypt for several years. Maadi is a stray who showed up on his doorstep when she was about ten months old. The author has taken many of Egypt's geographical and historical facts, along with his and Maadi's real experiences, and has woven them into a fascinating piece of fiction. The story is written in first person point of view from a dog's perspective. The author does a wonderful job of "showing, not telling" Maadi's life in Egypt with vivid vocabulary.
The story is full of entertaining adventures with a little mystery tucked in it as Maadi, the main character, tells her story, talks with the dogs she meets, and lives in a loving home with Bob and Kathy. Although Bob and Kathy are necessary characters to the story, their development is a little less round than Maadi's character. They are there when needed, but Maadi is the protagonist pre-eminent! There are many other good characters and several antagonists sprinkled throughout who add excitement to the story. Some of them are wild dogs and some are humans; they all contribute nicely to moving the action along.
Maadi loves Bob and Kathy and does not exactly want to disobey, but her call-of-the-wild Husky genes get her into some mischief every once in a while. There are moments in the story when Maadi gets into serious trouble. Then the reader wonders how the adventure is going to turn out!
There was the time when Maadi was being chased by three large Dobermans. She tells it this way: "Every few strides, I glanced back over my shoulder. It was always the same. Each time three sets of the biggest, sharpest, shiniest, white teeth I’ve ever seen, framed in three snarling mouths, with saliva oozing from the corners were drawing ever closer. Unless I got a break soon, I was going to be a big doggie play toy, tossed in the air, and torn apart in several pieces."
Not every experience ends up exactly like what Maadi was hoping for! Maadi's Doberman experience is just one of the times when she wished her obedient Lab genes had kicked in before the call-of-the-wild Husky genes had a chance to lead the way.
Throughout the book, there are many photographs of the people, animals, terrain, and maps of Egypt to illustrate the tale. These photographs balance the talking dog with reality and give the fiction a very believable, realisic twist. When new words or phrases native to Egypt are introduced in the narrative, Maadi explains their meaning in her conversational tone. The story is packed with facts and I learned a lot about Egypt, but it never felt like I was reading a text book.
Although the book is written for children, probably for the pre-teen, early teen range, I found the writing style and vocabulary to be very engaging for adults. I estimate the vocabulary to be on a sixth to eighth grade reading level or higher. I think that young folks and adults alike, especially those who have an interest in other cultures, will thoroughly enjoy reading Maadi's Adventures in Egypt. This well-written book has been nicely edited with only a very minor punctuation error here and there. It was a pleasure to read. Without any reservation, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars!
Maadi's Adventures in Egypt
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