This is a sequel to Trainsurfer. Jabu is back now living in the Green Room House in Durban, South Africa, a dormitory for orphaned children where Jabu had become one of the counselors and surfing coaches. Several years ago, Jabu had arrived in Durban by way of a train that he had hopped passage on, ending up in a car with a baby Rhino named Thandi. Thandi and Jabu had a lot in common: both orphaned, young and alone in the train car. They become close friends. Now Jabu has been invited to the animal reserve Thandi lives on to reconnect and see how she is doing.
There are many reasons to love these books but one of my favorites is that they bring life in South Africa for a young boy to life for us in the States. That is the wonder of books, after all: taking you on a journey to a foreign land and letting you experience, at least in your mind, what it is like. In this book it includes the privilege of being around magnificent animals and understanding the importance of them to their culture and the world. Richards does a terrific job of telling the tale of orphaned rhinos that are in danger from poachers. The book is realistic and graphic enough to make the point, but never goes past the edge for young readers. The stories of friendships go beyond just those between humans to include the bonds we have with animals.
A lovely story with a suspenseful and sometimes scary plot. A great summer read for anyone who loves animals, friendship or is interested in South Africa.