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Thunder Cave

Thunder Cave

4.8 12
by Roland Smith, Mike Wimmer (Illustrator)

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A family reunion turns into the adventure of a lifetime when Jacob Lansa travels to Kenya in search of his father.


A family reunion turns into the adventure of a lifetime when Jacob Lansa travels to Kenya in search of his father.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
After 14 year old Jacob Lansa's mother is killed in an accident, he flees his New York City home to try and find his Dad, a wildlife biologist studying and trying to protect elephants in a remote part of Kenya. Although he has already learned much about survival and wildlife biology from survival school and his Hopi father and grandfather, Jacob must still struggle and learn as he faces challenges from thieves, lions, poachers, heat and drought. With the help of Supeet, a Masai wise man, Jacob does manage to find his father, foil the poachers and save the elephants. The novel, with its likable hero and fast-paced excitement is a very good survival story, with interesting information about Kenya's recent problems, Masai culture and elephant behavior skillfully interwoven into the plot.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-A maddening mix of adventure imbued with Hopi and Masai mysticism. Fourteen-year-old Jake Lansa, a half-Italian, half-Hopi boy who lives in New York City with his mother and stepfather, both anthropology professors, corresponds with his father, an idealistic field biologist studying elephants in Kenya. After his mother is run over by a car while jogging, Jake decides Kenya is a better bet than being shipped off to his relatives in Nebraska. One hitch is that his father is unreachable somewhere out in the bush. After surviving a mugging in Nairobi, Jake bicycles his way west, right past lions and warthogs. He befriends a well-educated Masai and together, their mission somehow linked by Jake's grandfather's kachina, they bring rain to the drought-stricken country, drive out ruthless poachers, and, of course, find Dr. Lansa. Survival tips, like learning how to stalk animals by seeing through their eyes, are engrossing, and the butchery of the elephants by the poachers is sobering. The conservation message isn't too ponderous, but other aspects of the story are preachy, and the ``voice-overs''-prophetic words uttered by Jake's father and grandfather-are repetitive and soon grate. The ``you're here for a reason'' theme is disappointing in the otherwise real and appealing My Side of the Mountain-like teenage-survival story.-John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX
Kay Weisman
After his mother is killed in a jogging accident and his stepfather decides to ship him off to live with relatives in Nebraska, 14-year-old Jacob Lansa opts to travel to Kenya in search of his father, a wildlife biologist tracking elephant herds. While crossing the Kenyan bush, Jacob meets Supeet, a young Masai on a quest to end the drought, and the two join forces. On their trek they encounter a dangerous ring of poachers, whose greed threatens Africa's wildlife with extinction. Although the novel is longer than most for this age group, the action never flags, and Smith's focus on local color and vivid attention to detail will make readers feel they are participants in Jacob's experiences. Reminiscent of Gary Paulsen's survival novels, this will appeal to adventure buffs. Eric Campbell's "A Place of Lions" (1991) provides a related look at east equatorial Africa.

Product Details

Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Roland Smith is the author of Zach's Lie, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers; Cryptid Hunters; Thunder Cave; Jaguar; The Last Lobo; and Sasquatch. He lives outside of Portland, Oregon, with his wife Marie, who also writes children's books.

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4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i am in 4th grade and i am reading this book it is very good i recommend it for children all over the word. It is a great book for all ages if you read a chapter at a time it is very intersting i love it and all my friends do to! if you buy it for your children or for yourself hope you love it and have a great day:)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amazing book! must read! written by the best!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, it was excellent. No wonder it won an award!! I would definiitley reccomend this book to anyone. It is written for a girl or boy!! The ending was absoulutly amazing!!! i loved it sooo much!! read this book anyone can fall in love with it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw this book in the public library in my town and it had elephants on the front so i got it (because i love elephants) and when i read it nobody could take it from me then i remembered i had to give it back to the library (unfortunatley) so i went down to Barnes & Noble to buy it. Lucky me it was the last copy on the shelve so i was soooooo happy ^_^ and i turned out to be my favorite book EVER so i will keep reading it till the day i die!!!! P.S.- (To roland smith) You better write a second book to go along with this!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started to read this book for a project in my Geography class where we had to apply the five themes of Geography to a foreign country. I was stunned with what I read. The author (Roland Smith) has a unique style, which allows the reader to see from all perspectives. Not only did I learn about the five themes of Geography, I learned about what really is going on in Kenya in the perspective of Jake Lansa (A boy searching for his father, a field biologist) and of the people native to Kenya. I felt as if I too were there, traveling with Jake through the Kenyan terrain and seeing all of the hidden evils and the splendor of the land. I felt enraged during the chapters which poachers/poaching was involved, and peaceful in the parts where the undamaged parts of Kenya were written about. I was furious when I read that poor and rich families alike felt that they needed to steal from innocent animals, even though there were other ways to make enough money. It was extremely interesting to read about the different cultures of the land and their different ways of hunting and living. Thunder Cave has most definitely opened my eyes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so cool!! I think one of the reasons why this book is so good is because the plot is told in a believable way. This is my favorite book. Trust me... you will never be able to put it down!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome! I hope I will enjoy his other books as much as I did this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i like this book !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!