Alexander McCall Smith is best known as the author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, but he does children's books as well.

Akimbo is a boy who has access to all the coolest animals in Africa. His dad is one of the rangers in charge of a wild game reserve, which means that from one book to the next Akimbo is having adventures with snakes and baboons and elephants and crocodiles. Oh my!

In Akimbo and the Lions, he accompanies his father to trap a lion harassing a small village. But things don't go as planned.  Instead they trap a cub and scare the momma away. That means someone needs to take care of this wee little lion, and Akimbo convinces his dad that he is just the boy for the job!

McCall does a wonderful job of balancing the tension in the book. There were moments where my 5 and 7-year-olds were covering their mouths (and sometimes their eyes) but these moments didn't last too long,.

This is just a good old-fashuioned adventure, perfect for their age group. It is short – a book that can be read in two or three sessions – exciting, sometimes sweet, with gentle humor along the way too. We look forward to tackling others in this series.

Jon Dykstra blogs on books at

Jon Dykstra is the editor of Reformed Perspective ( and he and his siblings blog on books at