The White Giraffe
  • The White Giraffe
  • The White Giraffe

The White Giraffe

4.7 122
by Lauren St. John, David Dean

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When Martine’s home in England burns down, killing her parents, she must go to South Africa to live on a wildlife game preserve, called Sawubona, with the grandmother she didn’t know she had. Almost as soon as she arrives, Martine hears stories about a white giraffe living in the preserve. But her grandmother and others working at Sawubona insist that

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When Martine’s home in England burns down, killing her parents, she must go to South Africa to live on a wildlife game preserve, called Sawubona, with the grandmother she didn’t know she had. Almost as soon as she arrives, Martine hears stories about a white giraffe living in the preserve. But her grandmother and others working at Sawubona insist that the giraffe is just a myth. Martine is not so sure, until one stormy night when she looks out her window and locks eyes with Jemmy, a young silvery-white giraffe. Why is everyone keeping Jemmy’s existence a secret? Does it have anything to do with the rash of poaching going on at Sawubona? Martine needs all of the courage and smarts she has, not to mention a little African magic, to find out.

First-time children’s author Lauren St. John brings us deep into the African world, where myths become reality and a young girl with a healing gift has the power to save her home and her one true friend.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

An exotic setting, a tragically orphaned protagonist, a mysterious and mystical legend, and heart-pounding action will draw listeners from the start to this audio adaptation of St. John's debut. However, it is British actress Andoh's robust performance that will keep listeners entranced throughout the recording. She moves effortlessly between English and South African accents, and tender and frenetic scenes shared between a cast of memorable characters. She also wrings every ounce of intrigue and local color from St. John's plot about 11-year-old Martine who, following the death of her parents, is shipped off to a new home on a South African game reserve run by the grandmother she's never known. On the reserve, Martine surreptitiously discovers and befriends a white giraffe, rumored to exist only in legend, and learns how her magical destiny as an animal healer is connected to the beast. Andoh's full-throttle delivery of the breathlessly paced denouement is a standout in a consistently fine recording. Ages 8-up. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
On the night of her eleventh birthday, Martine woke from a particularly vivid and disturbing dream to find smoke coming under her bedroom door—her house was on fire! Although she escaped, she lost her home, her parents, and the life she had known. Weeks later she is told by social services that she is going to live with a grandmother she didn't even know existed on a game reserve in South Africa. In spite of her grief and the less-than-warm welcome from her grandmother, Martine is enthralled with the animals in the sanctuary and reserve. Her problems, however, are far from over and they threaten her own safety as well as the animals on the reserve, especially the young white giraffe she has befriended. There is a strong element of magic running through the story, but the realism is all the more credible because the author actually spent part of her childhood in a game reservelike setting in Zimbabwe, and actually had a pet giraffe. In an author's note, St. Jean acknowledges the liberties she took with the setting and shares her hope that her story will pique young readers' interest in wildlife preservation and in Africa. This is a book with a resourceful young female heroine, a compelling story, and a heartfelt affection for southern Africa, its people, and creatures that is sure to appeal to girls. If your male readers are reluctant to read a book about a girl's adventures, Thunder Cave by Roland Smith offers a similar setting, storyline, and message, with a slightly older male protagonist.
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7
Imagine the rich surroundings of South African wildlife, the mystical stories surrounding a rare white giraffe, and an orphaned girl. Such is the backdrop for this heartwarming story. When her parents are killed in a house fire, Martine, 11, is sent to live with a grandmother she didn't know she had at a wildlife sanctuary. The cold, hands-off woman offers little comfort to a displaced, grieving child, leaving Martine to fend for herself in a foreign land. When a local woman tells the child that she has "the gift," Martine doesn't know what it is or why she would have it. Then she learns of a white giraffe and poachers' intent on capturing it. The story unfolds into a legendary tale full of intrigue and what life demands of a young chosen one. African folklore adds a touch of magic to the story and will help readers understand the supernatural beliefs of an ancient culture. Enjoyable characters offer a glimpse of local culture through Tendai, a Zulu tribesman, and the local mystic, appropriately named Grace. The bush healing techniques are especially interesting. Although a few sections need more fleshing out, the story is captivating and well spun.
—Robyn GioiaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
St. John's adventure-fantasy set in South Africa has all the elements-albino giraffe, dead parents, lonely girl with the gift of an ancient power over animals, aloof grandmother, suspicious game warden, cultural mystery, poachers-to make a hit film. When her parents are killed in a fire, 11-year-old Martine is sent from England to live with the grandmother she never knew on a game reserve outside of Cape Town. Only the animals make Martine's life bearable. Unexpected events quickly ensue as Martine rescues the mythical white giraffe from wildlife thieves by riding him to the Secret Valley where she discovers her destiny on a cave wall. Rich in South African details and imagery, unfamiliar terms rely on context and add exotic flavor. Despite the plot contrivances, the wild-animal appeal and the excitement of the chase plus Martine's gift of healing power over animals, make a lively action story ripe for the big screen. (Fiction. 9-13)

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.85(d)
940L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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The White Giraffe 4.7 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 122 reviews.
JennMarshall More than 1 year ago
This was not what I expected. I would not have chosen this book for myself, but my daughter wanted to read it for our book club. It looked ok, but I was shocked that I liked it as much as I did. I started it this morning and was done before bedtime. I didn't want to put it down. It starts right off with Martine's parents dying and her needing to move to Africa. There is a little of everything in this book, poachers, magic, friendship, and a little action. It was meant for kids and the main character is 11, but I think even adults will love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When Martine's parents died in a house fire. Thier was no choice encept go to her grandmother's house.When she meats the white giraffe. Jemmy is the wigh giraffe's nickname. After a while a picher of Jemmy goes missing from Martin's locker at her new school. Then her whistle went missing from her locker. The next day someone changed the code on herm. N grandmother's refuge. Soon after that she found out Jemmy was missing and that hunters took Jemmy. Her gradmother helps her by taking her to see Grace. Grace found out that Jemmy was on a ship heading far from South Africa. Will Martine get their in time and will she get Jemmy back? If you want to find out then read this book!
Sheila Muir More than 1 year ago
Im only10 and i love thhis book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a very good book even tho i did not buy i read with my class in the fifth grade it wuz a great book and i think u should buy it cuz it jas some facts bout animals and itz a great read for young people i only eleven
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have the whole series and i jist absolutely LOVE these books
Guest More than 1 year ago
After Martine's parents died in a fire, she was forced to move to an African wildlife preserve. She felt unwelcomed in her new home but found peace with the animals. There seemed to be alot of mysteries about the preserve and her parents but it was Martine's job to find the answers if she was ever going to live happily in Africa. There were things that happened in the book that made me really sad but Martine was always full of hope that things would work out. The best part about the book was Martine trying to find out if the white giraffe was real or not and what her special gift was. I am eight years old and some of the book was a little hard for me to understand and my mom had to help me with it but I think it had more to do with the story taking place in Africa which is alittle different than the city I live in. If you can understand it I think it is a really good, well written book.
Kaisen Eldridge More than 1 year ago
This is one one of the best booksI've ever read!! If you read this one read the rest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dOMiNiC66 More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book I've ever read! HONESTLY!!!! You should read this amazing book. Martine Finds a White Giraffe told to be legend and names him Jeramiah, (Jemmy for short). VERY GOOD BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 STARS!!!!!!!! THIS AUTHOR ROCKS!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This like one of my favorite books. If you want a interesting book you should really read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it so much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book it was very entertaining
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was grate i really lov he book i was eating popcorn then i spit it out when they called her sis and i cried really hard and my mom was like what wrong then i told her and she cried so she keep reading with me d we really like it so SO YAE IlOVE It
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is WAY below my reading level,( im 10) but it is the best book ive ever read! I just put it down 4 hours ago but i hate myself for doing that. I only read for about 15 mintues or so im only on chapter two. So if it the best book ever and i have only been reading it for 15 mintues, hmm, you might want to read it because after 4 pages it gets perrty good!!!!!!!!!! So your choies are this, aka THE BEST BOOK EVER! Or that aka THE NOT BEST BOOK EVER. Well i dont know about you but im leaning towrad THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What about you?! Ok i know its sad that her parents die, but its kinda good to have sad part then(probaly im only on the second chapter) a happy ending! Thats what makes it a good book! Rember:You have to trust. All things happen for a reson.
HKSavage1 More than 1 year ago
I read this book to prepare for a middle grade book group I'm leading this summer. It was a fun read, darker than some which made it far more readable for me. The heroine, Martine, loses her parents and goes to Africa to live with her grandmother on a game reserve. Once there, Martine discovers Africa gets in her blood; she's meant to be there. And if she had any doubts, the prophecy soon takes those. Deeper themes can be discussed with older kids, animals and the exotic flavors of Africa are fabulous for the younger ones. Check this one out, a great summer read with the kids. I'd recommend it for 2nd grade and up though parents might want to read with the kids if they're young.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was so inspiring and tottaly loved it. I recomend it to everybody who likes animal stories and girl power books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book ever... besides harry potter. I read it all the time! Love it, just love it. My favorite time to read it is in the summer evening at about 6:00. Thanks lauren for such a great (amazing, spectacular, wonderful, every good word ever!) book. :D
Adhalwei Isaak Betancut More than 1 year ago
Margaret Harder More than 1 year ago
i have been to africa and it is just like what i remmember! i couldn't put it down. my mom would get mad at me because i wouldn't pay attention to her when i was reading. i think any age woild love it.
MightyB More than 1 year ago
An 11 year old girl, Martine, wakes up from a nightmare when she realizes her home is on fire. Her parents get the worst of the fire and are dead. Martine has a grandma whom she has never known exsisted. She must go live with her in Africa in a reserve. Her grandmother not only is late to pick Martine up, but is strict and is always yelling at her or in a bad mood. Soon Martine spies the White Giraffe who is said to be a ledgend. A five star gang soon hunts down the white giraffe and scrapes him up and it's up to Martine to save him. I loved this Book. It was very adventureous! I could not put it down. My parents would find me at 9:30 reading when I was supposed to go to bed at 8:00. I hope you enjoy this. A book made for animal lovers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was such a pleasure to read - I was draw in by the end of the 1st page. The story moved quickly through the eyes of Martine and the challenges she faced with the death or her parents and moving to Africa to live with a grandmother she never knew existed. She faced multiple struggles and found peace in the legends of the White Giraffe, which ended up being true. I highly recommend this book for tweens and young teens. What a beautiful story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The White Giraffe is an entertaining book that teaches valuable lessons and enchants the reader. It is about an eleven-year-old girl named Martine Thomas, whose parents died in a house fire in England. Martine's only living relative is her grandmother Gwyn Thomas, who lives in a wildlife reserve called Sawubona in South Africa. Martine moves there and feels unwelcome until she meets the white giraffe and tries to save him from Alex du Preez, who is the evil game warden at Sawubona. This book is an adventure filled with mystery and suspense. Animal fans will fall in love with it. I recommend this book to people ages 10 to 13, but adults might enjoy it too. It teaches that you should always be yourself and that animals are just as important as people like us. At times not much is going on, but overall it is fantastic.
LovesAllAnimals More than 1 year ago
I got this book at the Printer's Row Lit Festival in Chicago just last weekend, and could not put it down until I was finished. It's the perfect book for my reading level (I'm 7) and it has great pictures. I love Africa, so I thought this would be a good book for me. And I was totally RIGHT! I can't wait to read her other 2 books - The Last Leopard and Dolphin Song. Wild animals letting me ride them is a popular daydream for me, so basically... I LOVED this book!
sinnvraal More than 1 year ago
My oldest daughter is usually not a huge reader. We bought her this book since she is so into animals. She hasn't put the book down since she began reading it. She wants to tell me everyday about what she has read so far. If your child isn't a huge reader but adores animals this book will get them reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My students were working on their projects on animals from South Africa, when I stumbled on to this book. We have since incorporated it into our unit. We are reading it aloud in class, and the students are loving it. We live in a small appalachian community where diversity of anything is few and far between. It is nice to take my students to another place, and open up a whole new world that they have never seen or heard.
Anonymous 5 months ago