Winner of the Australasian CALEB Book Award for Best Children’s Book 2010 Where Lions Roar at Night is an engaging book for the whole family to enjoy. It tells of the fun and adventures and dramas of a modern day ‘pioneering’ New Zealand family – the Booms.
Ten year old Milly had always dreamed of living in the country and owning all sorts of animals. So when her parents buy a piece of land and move their six children into a ninety-year-old barn, Milly can’t believe her luck. But she never imagined that living the simple life would include mucking out a filthy water tank, gathering endless supplies of firewood, clearing the land and rescuing animals in a ‘hundred year’ storm. Nor did she expect to hear deep groanings in the night…
When the Boom family first moved to Whangarei, New Zealand and bought 11 acres of farm land, complete with an old barn, they never dreamed that the next two years would hold so much fun and so many memorable moments. As they began making the barn livable, putting in and tending the vegetable garden, clearing the land, they also faced the constant challenges that inevitably go hand in hand with a small block.
Author Rosie Boom lived in Papua New Guinea for three years during her childhood. Life was one great adventure, full of strange animals, tilley lanterns and river fun. She credits those exhilerating years with her on-going excitement at facing a challenge and enjoying having to ‘rough it’. When she first laid eyes on the ancient barn, all she could think was, ‘We could live here!’
In the first six months, they survived two ‘one hundred year’ storms. The barn creaked and shook and groaned, but outlasted the onslaught. They were exciting, nerve wracking days and nights of gale force winds, rain so loud on the tin roof that the family couldn’t hear themselves shout, rescuing animals and anxiously watching to see if the barn roof would lift off.
Milly, the main character in the story, is the author’s strong willed, feisty 12 year old. She is full of life and action, and is passionately fond of any sort of animal. In the first year of living on the land, Milly gathered a menagerie of pets – chickens, Indian Runner ducks, a pony and a milking cow to name a few.
In the gentle land of New Zealand there are no snakes, no wild animals and definately no wild lions. But on their first night in the barn as they all lay on mattresses on the loft floor, complete with mosquito nets, they were awoken by the eerie, wild sound of lions roaring. At first they doubted their ears, but soon realised they were hearing the roars from the nearby Zion Wildlife Gardens – home to a large number of big cats. A spine tingling sound in the middle of the night. The sound somehow encapsulated the exciting start to the family’s new adventure and seemed to be a fitting title for Rosie Boom’s book.
The author’s hope is that Where Lions Roar at Nightwill cause people to reflect on the joy and wonder of family. And that the adults who read it will re-capture some of the wonder of childhood, while the children who enjoy the book will be inspired to never lose it.
Where Lions Roar at Night is published by HSM, Australia and is printed with a hard cover and green cloth spine; 228 pages and over 90 pen and ink illustrations.
Our family has always loved Little House on the Prairie. We never imagined we would discover another book we would love as much, especially a New Zealand one. Where Lions Roar at Night is hugely entertaining. Emily