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The Baboon King by Anton Quintana

The Baboon King

by Anton Quintana

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Morengaru is an out cast. His mother is from the Kikuyu tribe and is father is a Masai. These two tribes are about as different as you can get. The Kikuyu tribe are peaceful farmers and the Masai are hunters. Since Morengaru doesn’t really fit into either one of the tribes he eventually decides to live with his mother’s tribe. A leopard has been killing their cattle and Morengaru kills the leopard. This wins a place in the hearts of the Kikuyu. Then the unthinkable happens. A young boy playing a prank awakens Morengaru from a deep sleep. Morengaru comes face to face with the boy dressed in the leopard skin. Thinking it is the leopard he kills it only to find out too late it was the young boy. He is kicked out of the tribe. He leaves and joins a group of baboons. He learns their ways and he fights the leader to become the head of the pack. He eventually leaves the baboons and returns to the people realizing he need them. This is an interesting book, not one I normally would have picked up off of the shelf to read. ( )
  skstiles612 | Feb 14, 2010 |
From School Library Journal
Grade 8 UpA marvelous trip of discovery, gracefully and grippingly told. Quintana introduces readers to two East African cultures through Morengru, a young man born of a Kikuyu mother and Masai father, and therefore truly of neither group. He now lives alongside, but not exactly among, the Kikuyu, peaceful civilized farmers whom he views through the eyes of his Masai upbringing, thus showing this hunting peoples scorn for what they consider to be earth-grubbers. Morengrus aloof arrogance in this part of the novel will appeal to teens. After accidentally killing a Kikuyu tribesman, Morengru is ceremonially expelled from the village, and he refuses to do the expectedto plead for his readmittancethus exiling himself. However, when he sets off on a solitary journey as a man without a country, his pride begins peeling away. Readers see his fears and the pain of being an outsider. Then he falls in with a troop of baboons and becomes, through a bloody fight with their leader, their new king. He learns the meanings of their various calls and gestures and the structure of their tribal order. The climax comes when Morengru is finally able to contribute to the troop and he realizes that his humanity demands that he return to live among humans. This remarkable novel deserves to be placed alongside such classic looks at the human condition as Lord of the Flies and A Separate Peace, and recommended to readers who loved Gary Paulsens Hatchet (Macmillan, 1986) and are seeking other adventures at a more advanced level.Coop Renner, Coldwell Elementary-Intermediate School, El Paso, TX
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
2nd review
Moregaru's tale falls in the ranks of those that tell of young teens and their fight to fit in and not find themsleves as outcasts. Many of today's teens whether in the southern state of Alabama,the ineer city of Detroit or the outskirts of urban Washinton, D.C. can identify with feeling "left out". Mangaru knows the pain of not being fully accepted by two truly different tribes in Africa. The Kikuyu who have throughout all of time survived as gatherers anad the Masai as hunters of game. The agressive nature of one and the calm nature of the other drive neither to accept Mangaru. Only as he wanders barren Africa does he begin to discover that he can refind himself within the enfolds of humanity again.
  connieh1433 | May 23, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440229073, Mass Market Paperback)

Morengaru, a strong young hunter, has been cast out by both his mother’s people, the Kikuyu, and his father’s people, the Masai. Every day he misses human companionship, and soon he feels as though he’s becoming more like the animals around him. When Morengaru has the chance to belong again, he seizes the opportunity. Then he faces the greatest challenge of his life: living among the baboons, still clinging to his humanity, hoping someday to return to his people.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:26 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Son of a Kikuyu mother and a Masai herdsman father, Morengaru the hunter lives on the edges of tribal society until an actual banishment forces him to make a life for himself among a troop of baboons.

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