Saturday, January 16, 2010

Miracle in Sumatra: The Story of Gutsy Gus by Jeanne McNaney

Genre: Children's Fiction
Copyright: 2009
Illustrated by: David Cochard
Pages: 34
Book Source: From Publicist for Review

Author & activitist Jeanne McNaney teaches children about wildlife conservation and endangered species preservation. Her first children's book The Legend of Honey Hollow introduces children to environmentalism and the dangers of global warming.

Deep in the jungles of Sumatra there lives a courageous little orangutan named Gutsy Gus. One day, when Gus is out playing, his parents are captured by animal trappers, and it's up to Gus to rescue them. With the help of a guardian angel named Gabriella and a brave little girl named Maya, Gus fights for his parents' freedom and proves that even one small orangutan can make a big difference.


This beautiful story with its gorgeous cover highlights the very real and tragic occurrence of animal poaching and habitat loss for not only the orangutans of Sumatra but many species worldwide. The illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the story; bright, colourful and captivating for both young and old.

Gus becomes a furry ambassador, teaching our children the sad plight of the orangutan and inspiring them to do what's right; show kindness to others, preserve natural habitat and protect our precious animals. The story demonstrates you are never too young or too insignificant to make a difference.

After reading Miracle in Sumatra myself I asked my almost 7 year old niece to read the story with me, so I'm happy to be sharing some of Michaela's thoughts with you. Michaela liked the story, her favourite part was Gabriella the guardian angel of the forest and the beautiful pictures. She thought Gus was a very brave little orangutan and was intrigued when Maya turned into an orangutan to help Gus find his mum and dad, Xera and Cornelius. Michaela is an independent reader but found the amount of text on many of the pages too daunting to read herself, however when reading some of the smaller paragraphs she coped well with the language used. Michaela recognised Hunter as a bully and told me how kindhearted Gus was to help Hunter after all the trapper had done to hurt his family, but the concept of preserving natural habitat for our animals was something I needed to explain further.

This book is recommended for ages 4 - 8 but I think children aged 6 to 10 years will enjoy reading or being read this delightful story. Miracle in Sumatra would make an excellent teacher resource for primary school children, aiding in discussion for environmental units on conservation, deforestation and protection of animals.

Thanks to Shelby from Phenix Publicity for providing this copy for review.

To celebrate blogging friendships & my birthday two lucky readers can take their pick from a choice of 6 books in my Dec/Jan giveaway. Check this blog post for details. International entrants welcome.


  1. This sounds wonderful, I like the message. That your niece could read it and get it proves that the author wrote well to the target.The illustrations were just beautiful.

    I do think he could have come up with something more orignal than Xera and Cornelius for the parents names. All I could think of when I read those names was the old movie Planet of the Apes.

  2. Sharon ~ I do remember Planet of the Apes but I had forgotten their names until you mentioned it LOL.

    Not to take anything away from the story but I think the illustrations really made this one.

    I think my niece was too young for the environmental aspects but she understood after we talked about it. (maybe the environment hasn't really been a focus in grade 1)

  3. I liked reading what Michaela thought of this story. I love Orangutans and the thought of the poaching that occurs is heartbreaking. This looks like a wonderful picture book to share with the little ones in our lives!!

  4. This looks like a wonderful book, I love the illustrations.

  5. Congratulations on getting another book review done! I know how difficult you find it when feeling so unwell!

  6. Staci ~ Michaela would have liked more pictures but she did enjoy the story, it's a lovely way of getting the message to youngsters.

    Bookmagic ~ thanks for popping in and commenting :-)

    Alaine ~ thanks, it's a struggle but at least now I can concentrate on reviews for 2010 LOL

  7. This looks like an awesome book for my 4 year old, thank you for sharing it!

  8. Glad to hear you both enjoyed it. My daughter and I will be reading it together soon.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  9. Nice review. I love the artwork. I'd have come up with new names for the parents myself, but the kids don't know so it doesn't really matter.


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