The Gadoomfs: Across the Waaigezi
by Fiona Burdett
Trafford Publishing

"'We have learned so much from this journey.' Boo sighed. 'There are many wonderful creatures beyond our borders.'"

For most children, and many adults, the fear of the unknown is an overwhelming problem. Trepidation for what might exist beyond one's own experiences often prevents an individual from seeking new opportunities. It is exactly that form of fear that Burdett addresses in her children's book. Burdett has created a fantastical world—a continent knownn as Figmentica. The Gadoomfs are furry creatures that live in the land of Goodlybuttonswell. Although Goodlybuttonswell is a beautiful land, the Gadoomfs do not live in harmony. They are terrified of two fings, a type of monster, that dwell near their home.

Goose, Boo, Daddoo, and Bear are sibling Gadoomfs who live in fear of the fings. However, when their only ball rolls beyond the orchard and into the fings' territory, the siblings bravely face their fears and venture into the forbidden land to retrieve it, only to discover that the two "monsters" are actually friendly bunnies. This early success sets the stage for the siblings' next task. They are charged with retrieving an old map from the Land of Smear. With help from new friends, the siblings set off on their journey and learn valuable lessons about their own bravery and abilities along the way.

The author, possibly inspired by her own experiences exploring her native country of Zimbabwe, has created a marvelous world with an engaging plot that will keep children in suspense. Her own experiences as a mother likely informs the excellent character development and realistic sibling relationships found in the book. In addition to the theme of embracing the unknown, the astute adult reader is likely to discover a few other themes to discuss with children, such as the necessity of sibling harmony. The young Gadoomfs must work together and support each other on their journey. Additionally, Burdett's work encompasses the need for environmental preservation in the face of economic progress. The book also subtly points out that people come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and the true test of a person's character is based on deeds, rather than appearances.

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