Book Review : A Chameleon, A Boy, and a Quest

To say that I loved this book would be to state it lightly.  Seriously I am already anxious to get the next two books and they are not out yet!  I almost handed this book off to my oldest son to read and review, because it is targeted at children.  But after reading the note in the beginning of the book about how the author is a doctor in Africa and that she wrote this story for her kids for Christmas, my mind was changed.

chameleon cover

So, I read this quickly, alone.  I will be reading it out loud though in December as our read aloud that month.  My Christmas gift to my children : my time and a wonderful story that points to Jesus!!

This is a sweet, fast paced story about a boy and a chameleon alone in Africa.  There is a quest and there are many details that are not revealed until the end, and many that are yet revealed in the first story.

As friends of a family that adopted from Uganda, and as a family that is very interested in missions here and over seas this book just resonated with me, a chance to see into the heart of Africa.  I loved the animals, and allegory.  Everything points to God.

After finishing the book I tracked down the author, J. A Myhre, to share my thoughts personally with her – and I found out I adore her!  She has an interview page HERE if you want to read more about her.  I love that her blog is called paradox Uganda :

paradox: 1. something that combines contradictory features or qualities. Life in Africa is full of contradictions – the beauty and pain; the abundance and the poverty; the joy and the sorrow. Our lives, too…dying that we might live; strong in our weakness; sinners yet saints. 2. a “pair of docs”

Like I said, I loved the book, I KNOW my kids will eat it up and I guarantee my youngest son will read and re-read it once I let him.  I cannot wait for the next two books to come out – I think this series will be a favorite for sure!  And since it is that time of the year, what a great Christmas present for a young reader in your home!!

NOTE : I was offered a copy of A Chameleon, A Boy and a Quest in exchange for an honest review.


This beautifully-written adventure book for young readers brings to life the African savannah Myhre calls home, inviting readers to explore the country through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy named Mu. Orphaned as a toddler, Mu has served his whole life in his great uncle’s house where he is unloved and ignored. In his drudgery-filled life, Mu has little hope of happiness and doesn’t believe anything will ever change. 

On his way to draw the morning water one day, Mu is astonished when a chameleon greets him by name and announces they will embark on a quest together. Mu and his chameleon guide face peril and find unexpected allies as they journey through an ever-changing African landscape. Throughout his adventure Mu learns many things about himself and the nature of good and evil. 

Myhre has served alongside her husband as a doctor in East Africa for more than two decades. While living in a very remote area on the Uganda-Congo border, Myhre noticed that although her children were avid readers, none of the books in their hands related to the world in which they lived. So she began to write short novels for them each Christmas, which they would read aloud together. “Most of the kids who hung out at our house every day had lost one or both parents and struggled to stay in school. Our next-door neighbor ended up in a rebel group,” Myhre admits. “This is reality for kids in much of the world. So I wanted a story where kids who live with that kind of challenge had courage and hope, even if they made mistakes.”

A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest gives a voice to the millions of children like Mu who must make painful, irrevocable choices along the path of growing up. Dealing with real themes African children face every day, such as forced labor, the duties of child soldiers and the Ebola virus, Myhre hopes A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest will captivate young minds and foster in them a new sensitivity toward the forgotten orphans of the world. “I think our kids are the generation that will grasp justice,” says Myhre. “They know we are all responsible to struggle for those who are oppressed. I hope by giving the poor names and stories, kids everywhere will embrace their struggles.”

New Growth Press now brings the powerful message of this story, originally told from one mother to her children, to all bookshelves, drawing families into a tale about hope, happiness and what it means to be humJAMyhre-334an.


J. A. Myhre serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked for over two decades.
She is passionate about health care for the poor, training local doctors and nurses, promoting childhood nutrition and deve
lopment, and being the hands of Jesus in the hardest places. She is married to her best friend and colleague Scott, and together they have raised four children for whom many of her stories were written as Christmas presents.

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