Small Five

You’ve probably heard of Africa’s ‘Bi Five’: the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant. But did you know there are five little animals who share their names, and can fit in the palm of your hand? See what happens when the ‘Small Five’ go up against their big cousins – in a battle of wit, wills, and some extraordinary skills! A little rhyme with a big heart.


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In over 20 years working as an editor and corporate writer, Ralph Johnstone has always had a secret hankering to write a children’s book. Now, with the help of Africa’s “most fun and fearless characters”, he has done just that! Ralph first encountered the Small Five while helping a Kenyan safari company develop activities for its children’s club – and fell in love with them on the spot. He says that visitors to Africa always thrill to see the fearsome lions and majestic elephants, but the little guys always get a raw deal. “After all, they’re just as robust and wily – in fact, some of them, like the leopard tortoise and rhinoceros beetle, are even tougher than the Big Five!” Ralph was inspired to share his fascination for these small creatures with children, and wrote The Small Five to bring them into the big picture. Ralph grew up on a traditional Malaysian fishing boat in Singapore and, after spending his younger years in Asia, moved to Africa in the early 1990s. Since 2008, he and his family have called Australia home.

Harriet Stanes was born in 1973 in Dorset, England. She moved to the island of Guernsey during her teen years and went on to study Graphic Design and Illustration in Bath. Following numerous visits to East Africa she to relocated to Kenya in 1999 having been lured by adventure and safaris with friends some years earlier. Living on the outskirts of the cosmopolitan metropolis of Nairobi, with the edge of an entire animal kingdom close by, she was absorbed by the sights, colours and dramas of life in Kenya.


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Harriet Stanes


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