The Little One, by Kaitie Afrika Litchfield

My name is Kaitie. I live in Adelaide, Australia.
When I was four years old, my mum and I lived in Uganda in Africa. She is a scientist, and she was working at a sanctuary for orphaned chimpanzees. Her job was to find out how chimps solve puzzles.

Kaitie Afrika Litchfield was, for the time of this story, a surrogate mother to an orphaned baby Red-tailed Monkey called The Little One. The Little One was brought to her Uganda home after a farmer had killed her mother. Although Red-tailed Monkeys are not endangered, their habitat is being destroyed for farmland. The monkeys are adaptable and will eat some of the farm crop, but farmers are less keen to share. The Little One of the title may be a monkey, but it could equally refer to Kaitie and her time in Africa. The gorgeous photos which accompany the text are from Kaitie’s family album.

A photo of The Little One graces the cover of this story of the same name. He is a very cute little monkey, looking directly into the camera. But his interaction with humans has altered his life. Farming land has overtaken his natural home and his mother was killed by a farmer. His life changed again when he was brought to the home Kaitie shared with her scientist mother. Kaitie became temporary mother to the orphan and when he was grown, found a home where he will be safe. The Little One also touches on Kaitie’s life in Uganda. Kaitie details her life as though it as normal as the childhood of most Australian children. Photos fill in some of the space between her words and give the reader a (pardon the pun) snapshot of an extraordinary experience. Recommended for junior primary readers, although younger readers will also enjoy this story.

The Little One, Kaitie Afrika Litchfield
Black Dog Books 2009
ISBN: 9781742030906


review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author