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Nicko cover (medium res)

Nicko – The Tale of a Vervet Monkey on an African Farm is an animal story based on the true account of the author’s grandmother, Alice Kirk and her life with a vervet monkey and a menagerie of other animals on her farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands of South Africa. It is told in Alice’s voice.

Abandoned as a baby, Nicko was brought to Alice to raise. Because she expected him to return to the wild once he was old enough to take care of himself, Alice never caged or confined the little monkey. The result? Nicko became a lifelong and important part of the farmyard, befriending the dogs, cats and other animals, and accepting them as his new troop.

Told over almost 180 pages, Nicko and friends get up to series of hilarious, heart-warming and sometimes heart-wrenching escapades and antics. There’s tension too, as the monkey learns to be careful when Ruskie, the borzois (also known as a Russian wolfhound) is around; Ruskie is bred to hunt and finds it difficult to see Nicko as anything other than prey. But, what happens when Nicko goes missing after he and his friends encounter a strange pack of vicious dogs on the farm, is the ultimate surprise.

Reminiscent of classic animal stories like Jock of the Bushveld, The Incredible Journey and Old Yeller, the book is written for animal lovers of all ages. It’s ideal as a self-reader for children aged 8 to 12, and as a chapter a night bedtime story for younger children. Nicko is a gentle story that describes unlikely friendships across species, provides thought-provoking insights into animal-life and will pull a little at your heartstrings as you wonder whether Nicko will eventually include Alice in his special circle of loved ones.

Watch the book trailer here