The tale eloquently demonstrates the hazards of a hasty and misplaced trust, and the moral that a cleverly disguised and shrewdly presented deception on the onset may appear trustworthy and desirable; and will continue so as long as we indulgently convince ourselves it is so. And, then the difficultly of exposing the deception to those taken in.
An enjoyable tale for all ages with an important lesson on life you’re never too young, or old, to learn.
Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo (USA) A tale for now
Mungai is quite the scamp in this story. It is a well written narrative about jungle animals that end up banding together to start a business set up by Mungai and his cohort the goa constrictor. Mungai and the constrictor are quite sneaky and set the animals up to destroy their homeland just so they can reap the benefits. The animals believe the lines they are fed because they think they can get something for nothing. This story pretty much proves that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Mungai and the constrictor manage to not only fool the animals, but go into a partnership with a couple of seedy humans as well. I do not want to spoil the story, but the animals come to their senses. I will leave the ending alone as not to spoil it for those reading the story.
The tale is well told and the lessons involved are enormous. I recommend this as a story to be read with your children. The discussion possibilities are endless.
The author asked me to read this book for an honest review. This book has such far reaching possibilities for the future, that I had no choice but to give it 5 out of 5 stars!
David Rowinski (USA) Not your typical tail
I finished reading Mungai and the Goa Constrictor over a week ago and though I planned on immediately posting a review I refrained, allowing myself time to consider the story. As I closed the book, I believed I had read a simple fable about the evil of environmental exploitation but after reflecting I realized her story is more nuanced. She resists the temptation to draw a clear line between humans and animals. Instead, she creates an amorphous creature of desire, Mungai, who allies with Goa, a constrictor. These two approach an array of animals. Seducing them with promises of comfort enjoyed by the two legged, these animals are soon in the employ of these tricksters. This is an important point. As countries emerge from poverty to seek their share of resources difficult challenges will be posed. Ms Curzon weaves a wonderful tale, addressing pressing concerns with wit, wisdom, and sympathy.
Paul (USA) – Awesome and insightful
I loved this book. Mungai is quite a character. An unidentified animal, I believe a little bit of Mungai is in every one of us in some way or another. His tricks and skullduggery are something to behold. I loved the message in this story and I think young and adult readers alike will enjoy it. The setting is vivid, descriptive and great (I am preferential to jungles). The way the jungle animals bonded together along with humans proves that we can coexist and work together. I loved, loved, loved the cover of this book! This ought to be a staple in family homes, schools, and libraries across the globe.
Diebus – Educational and entertaining
Mungai and the Goa Constrictor” by Amelia E. Curzon is as lovely a story as it is serious. Written for children and adults alike it should provide a good base for adult – child discussions on the ethics of animal welfare and nature preservation.
With a hint of Animal Farm and The Jungle Book this is a wonderful moral tale about two animals, one a boa constrictor, the other unspecified, and their ploy to use other animals and nature reserves to have an easy and wealthy life. Told from an animal perspective
There are beautiful scenes where animals use their natural abilities to create a mill and constructions and only gradually does it dawn on them what they do to their own habitat and environment.
The characters in the story are well-developed and make the story richer than just a moral tale, which I found quite a relief after reading the blurb. This is unique and intelligently written, exposing the idea behind the manipulating two, the naivety of the animals and the book distinguishes between the good and the bad ‘two-legs’.
Pleasantly sophisticated it may be too much for the very young readers, but could well be transcribed into a picture book with the right illustrator. It is a story and a book worth exploring.
Christine Corretti (USA) – A Superb Classic
“Mungai and the Goa Constrictor” is worthy of being a classic. It is fable, novel, allegory — all in one. “Mungai” is written with intellectual depth: complicated themes and symbols abound in the story, which concerns a strange animal named Mungai, who uses his powers of deception to swindle naive creatures into working for him for promised “rewards.” Mungai teams up with a boa constrictor named Goa to achieve his ends. As their conspiracy develops through a dangerous network of furtive alliances and actions, the characters become more and more vivid and morally complex. We see Mungai and Goa serving as types for corrupt leaders and pioneers who promise much to the innocent as they subjugate and exploit them. The story serves, in a major sense, as an allegory of the state; of colonization; and of human nature. “Mungai and the Goa Constrictor” also seems to borrow from the biblical myth of Adam and Eve: the serpent, evil, sin, deception are all present here. Curzon’s work is, in short, intensely thought-provoking. What, it seems to ask, is greed capable of and who is to be trusted? The story offers different ways to answer these questions among its surprises. The bottom line, however, is that the world as a whole is brought to ruin because of greed. I HIGHLY recommend this book to adults and children ages 8 and up
The Halulkos – Mungai
Great, great, great book! Excellent lesson, and almost a vicious-circle type ending, which I find to be uncommon in most books.
In Mungai and the Goa Constrictor, Amelia Curzon portrays a character cast of jungle and woodland animals with human traits, such as the good and the evil, the scheming and the naïve, and the hard-working and the lazy. Mungai, an undefined and highly adaptive jungle creature who can produce scents to achieve his goals, and Goa, the slimy slithering and lisping constrictor, are an odd pair of leaders of the worst kind. The two lead the cult of jungle and woodland naïve animals, who believe Mungai and Goa’s smooth talk and empty promises.
This unique book is a delightful read for all ages that could become a classic and be adapted to a school’s curriculum. The dialogues are witty and entertaining, and the characters are intriguing and well-developed. A provoking and engaging read, I give it five stars!
Jane Whiteoak “Jane Whiteoak” (Canada) – Excellent Book For All Ages
Select a place..any where in the world and you most probably have heard stories about a pair to be very wary of, like Mungai and the Goa Constrictor! Likely, you’ll have heard them directly, from the innocent victims left strewn aside in their wake. This is a story about nature, reforestation, gold mining, animals both two-legged and four-legged and the most nebulous kind of all… that of the cold and calculating… psychological nature.
Mungai, escapes from a zoo by literally biting the hand that feeds him, to obtain his freedom. Along the way he connects with a self-centered, narcissistic snake named Goa. They instantly mirror and gravitate to the lack of conscience in each other and recognize “possibilities” of a greater future together. They exist in this world only to use everyone that they encounter to their own advantage.
They formulate a plan to exploit a group of unsuspecting animals, promising great rewards in the future, if the animals do as they request.
Having every faith in the pair, the animals work laboriously constructing tables, chairs and baskets out of wood with the promise of hope and prosperity for their respective families. They listen attentively to Mungai and Goa, as the two speak with authority and are quite erudite in their knowledge of the woodland surroundings and little gold treasures. To doubt their sincerity would be erroneous as the animals would have a falling out with their peers and thus be made to look foolish.
Through manipulation and cajoling the two cause confusion every step of the way. The woodland and jungle animals work together in good faith but they are gullible and unbeknownst to them are being terribly misled. Their gold mining endeavours, are necessary to pay for new equipment, used by humans to work at deforestation!
They’ve all been told by the amoral pair, that the “trees are too old” and need to be chopped down, in order that new ones may be replanted in their place. The animals have no concept that they are working illegally and are actually chopping down their own habitat. The two ring leaders start to show a few cracks in their armour however, when they begin to live in loftier and loftier residences. Each move is scrupulously planned, to be farther away from the ‘workers’ each time and with every move they have obtained, through smooth talk, even greater security.( e.g. wolves acting as security guards).
Finally, a very observant crow, becomes extremely suspicious and tries in vain to alert the diligent trusting foreman, the badger. Of course, the badger doesn’t believe a word that the crow tells him, as he has complete and utter “misplaced” trust in Mungai and Goa.
The book is very engaging as one ponders, if this dubious duo will ever be seen for what and whom, they truly are. Amelia E. Curzon has done us all a huge favour, by shining a spotlight on and enlightening us, to the damage done to our society by these unconscionable and despicable human beings. Her insight into this behaviour and relaying this message, through the depiction of animals is truly remarkable. This is an excellent book that would be advantageous and fascinating to read, for all ages. It is a real page turner and I highly recommend this book to all!
A delightful tale of an incorrigible jungle creature and his shady — not to mention greedy — sidekick, a lisping boa constrictor. They manage to manipulate some gullible woodland creatures into doing all the work for them by promising some great rewards in the near future. Rewards that they have no intention of delivering.
What follows is an entertaining round of scheming, duplicity and jostling for position within the group whilst they get up to no good in the no go area of the jungle. A bit like people in politics really, with a similar underlying message.
I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
What a delightful read that can be read by anyone. The characters are refreshing and the story line holds interest along lines of themes of good and evil. I didn’t see the ending coming, that was a surprise. The author paints the environment very nicely with her descriptive words and the characters have a variety of personality traits to make this not just a fun but interesting read. I think I’d read this again, like most of the endearing children’s classics – that are also made for adults to enjoy.
Amelia E. Curzon’s contemporary jungle tale entertains, informs and educates readers of all ages. For the very young, Mungai and the Goa Constrictor is a great read-aloud. Ages 10 and up can delve into this terrific tale on their own. As a retired teacher, I highly recommend this book for the middle-grade classroom shelf. Filled with endearing characters and plenty of action and adventure, Mungai and the Goa Constrictor would make a perfect addition to any home library. Curzon’s two-legged anamorphic characters help us all see ourselves and the world around us through enlightened eyes!
This was great fun, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Amelia took a bunch of woodland and jungle creatures and gave them all huge personalities. There were good guys and bad guys. There were greedy guys, hardworking guys, criminal guys, and guys with a social conscience. They could almost have been human…
Mungai is a…well…he’s best described as a `not unpleasant-looking creature’, who has escaped captivity and manages to avoid recapture using his skills to remain undetected. He wants a good life–the sort of life the two-legged species has–of comfort and abundance. And he wants to achieve it with the minimum effort and cost to himself. With Goa, the boa constrictor, (who has a most charming speech impediment), the pair manipulates a merry band of assorted woodland and jungle creatures into achieving that end for them with promises of rewards. It’s easy–all they have to do is make things from the jungle’s resources, which will then be exchanged for things that will benefit them all. It’s not long before there’s a distinct unease amongst the working contingent. Something isn’t right. Why does it say `keep out’ in the area in which they are working? And why is there no sign of these rewards? It’s not long before there’s Mutiny on the Bounty. The route to a life so desperately coveted by Mungai and Goa could well be derailed…
The animals are so well caricatured, there’s no hard work involved in trying to imagine them, from the unscrupulous Mungai and Goa, to the avuncular hard-working Bodger, the badger, and Punch, the cheetah. Amelia has selected a perfect combination of animals with delightful names. There’s a gentle humour accompanying the sharp and witty dialogue and the tale is satirical: I could feel the justified prod at the greed and selfishness that ultimately robs our world of its natural resources and creatures dependent on them to survive.
This was a clever, enjoyable, different, well-crafted story and one I’d love to see as an animated movie. Both the book (and the movie!) would appeal to older children and adults alike.
Amelia Curzon’s Mungai and the Goa Constrictor was a surprisingly fun read, that held my attention throughout. Curzon’s clever use of animals interspersed with two legs, all the varying shades of personality along the good to evil spectrum among the forest and jungle was a cleverly written story. It has been said that there are but a few fundamental stories repeated over and over again throughout history, and what avoids tedium and boredom is the creativity in the telling, to that Curzon gets credit. The combination of the Goa and Mungai with their two leg counterparts juxtaposed with the other characters and their two leg members create a tension of good and evil, that holds interest, with scene of fermented apple juice, jungle description, fits of laughter, betrayal, human emotions and dialogue in the cast of animal characters, a narcissistic snake, a cult like following, and messages about deforestation and animal abuse, all combine into a sweet read.
If you like animated animals who are up to no good, and humans who can detect the low lifes, then you won’t want to miss the antics of Mungai and the other animals in the forest. This is not typically the kind of book I read but I did find it well-paced and humorous. The schemes of the villain, though he’s an animal, makes them no less dastardly. The way the story triggers emotions in the reader reminded me of the African tradition of telling stories through actions of animals.
An interesting, vivid read for those looking for something out of the ordinary.
Amelia Curzon’s Mungai and The Goa Constrictor is a unique and wonderful work on its own. The characters are varied and interesting. It is very clever how Ms. Curzon uses predominantly animals to tell her story and includes the “two-legged” in both a positive and negative light to compliment the story. That being said as a reader I did compare her work to other wonderful works that used animals as characters as well.
There are nuances of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and as the one explores the corruption of the powerful and effect on the weak in regards to revolution Mungai and The Goa Constrictor beautifully addresses the effect of corruption and greed set before the need to protect our environment.
Rudyard Kipling’s Rikki-Tikki-Tavi gives the reader the heroic Mongoose against the evil King Cobra. Amelia Curzon manages to do far more than that by giving different characters the power to be heroes whether by conviction or chance. “Since no-one was in, they decided to investigate further. They were not brave, they were simply curious.”
The character’s need to balance understanding what is real, right and true while strong influences cleverly deceive them.
The sophisticated narrative will enhance any young reader’s vocabulary while making it an enjoyable read for any adult.
I give Mungai and the Goa Constrictor a five star rating for its clever narrative and unique style.
Amelia Curzon has created a beautiful fable in “Mungai and the Goa Constrictor” that warns of the effects of destruction of the forest in a fashion that is innocent, entertaining and compelling. Curzon delivers a message of conservation and preservation that comes through from the perspective of woodland creatures that have been taken in by the false promises of corporate land developers. But not all that glitters is gold, and the grass will not remain greener on the other side if the sun scorches the Earth because the shade of trees is gone. Well, blah…blah…blah! Mungai, Curzon’s antagonistic protagonist, couldn’t care less if the forest and the stupid woodland creatures survive, or not, he has a lucrative retirement plan to implement!
Mungai (a creature of unknown origin who changes his scent for nefarious purposes to suit his greed) and his slimy, slithering sidekick, Goa –a boa with delusions of grandeur– have other ideas for the wealth hidden in the woods. Goa’s speech impediment presents a problem when they set about convincing the trusting creatures of the forest that it is in their best interest to get on board the fast track toward financial stability. But, Mungai is the real mouthpiece of the not-so-dynamic duo. Mungai’s manipulations of the innocent creatures of the wood puts me in mind of politicians during Election Year: his platform (and scent) changes to please his audience as he tells them what they want to hear, all the while manipulating them with flattery and empty promises, for his own purposes. Goa lisps out just the right spin on Mungai’s political campaign, “Diverthity ith always refwething,” likely thinking less of social reform than of eating the subservient creatures. While Mungai keeps a mindful eye on Goa, lest she eat away at their work-force, he spins his yarn about making his woodland friends wealthy gold miners and makers of fine furniture.
A few of the creatures begin questioning Mungai’s motives, it all sounds too good to be true. There must be some reason that Mungai “hates pigs”. But, Mungai and Goa are so convincing that even Bodger, an old Badger whom the creatures trust, is taken in. Caw-Caw, the crow starts to think Bodger’s become a little dodgy, and so takes matters into his own claws. The crow devises a plan to save the woodland creatures from Mungai’s devious exploitation, and his two-legged friend, Duggit, digs it! Caw-Caw and Duggit lay the groundwork for Operation Equinox! The woodland operatives set to work, heads, beaks, claws and paws together. They consult a red-bottomed Oracle, enlist the aid of the Oracle’s brother Captain Gerald Rupert Horatio-um- Peanuts-Brice-Copperbottom, “three eager beavers called Bucky, Brewster and Bracken, another large brown bear known as Bilboa, and a grouchy, but really quite friendly old wolf, aptly named Gruffy” and many other woodland creatures to set their plan in motion.
Does it work? Is Bodger really dodgy? Does Swallow (an unfortunately named bird) finally tempt Goa beyond restraint? Does the Oracle’s hind-end get redder when he advises Caw-Caw on tactical maneuvers? Do Caw-Caw and his cohorts capture Mungai and his lisping sidekick, Goa? You’ll have to read this wonderful book to find out. “Mungai and the Goa Constrictor” earned 5/5 hearts from this reviewer, hands, paws, and claws, down!
This was a highly unusual book. Thought provoking and fun. I see the book as not only an enjoyable one, but as a book a teacher
could use in the classroom for children to reenact. I see it incorporated into a study of the rainforest using Howard Gardner’s Multiple Theory educational approach where each child’s special talents are employed. This is a story that could take its place among ones the best in fairy tales with a lesson–but not only for children. Thanks to the author for a quality story that’s thoroughly enjoyable.
This is an enjoyable story that is difficult to classify. The vocabulary places it above the level of a children’s’ book, except perhaps for very bright kids with very patient parents willing to define words. For young adults and adults the theme is a bit worn: conservation good, rapaciousness bad. What made the story work for me were the characters, who exemplified a broad spectrum of human traits. The story was reasonably rich in human (via animal characters) behaviors ranging from Machiavellianism to altruism. I give it a solid four stars.
Kudos for Amelia Curzon and her impressive fable, “Mungai and the Goa Constrictor”!
Like the other reviewers of this work, I haven’t read an animal fable in years. The last I enjoyed was a film of “Charlotte’s Web” and a while before that, I read and taught “Animal Farm.” Truly, Curzon crafts an unforgettable story that speaks to the soul, reminding us to think for ourselves, to look inward for inspiration that drives us in life and to fearlessly turn back if we find ourselves heading down a path that doesn’t feel right.
Readers, this is a story for older children and, perhaps, keenly intelligent 12 to 13-year-olds. The vocabulary will send young readers running for a dictionary, although that is a good thing. The web of intrigue the mysterious Mungai and his sidekick Goa set for the charmingly sweet albeit gullible, two-legged creatures is what could happen Anywhere in the Universe, if people do not learn to look beyond slick words and ill-wrought intentions of those who want to slither through life looking to live comfortably from the fruits of others’ labor.
I love the fate Curzon culls for both Mungai and Goa at the tale’s end! Read it for yourself to discover the hidden treasures and subterfuge taking place under lush jungle and woodland foliage.
Great literature teachers are going to have a delightful time creating learning centers and novel maps and an array of writing assignments for this book! Well done, Curzon!
Although, the storyline is altogether different, this one reminds me of the characters & personalities found in Charlotte’s Webb. I haven’t read anything of that genre since substituting grade school students more than 20 years ago. The story is reminiscent of a modern-day Animal Farm, but yet, not quite. I don’t want to say too much more, as not to spoil the story.
It is in my opinion that this book is geared more for the adult than a child. I wouldn’t necessarily consider this a young children’s book at all. Perhaps, for an older child of 12 or 13, maybe? Given the vocabulary alone in the first two pages, is proof enough that it wasn’t meant for little ones under age 5 or 6.
Regardless of the delightfully colorful, descriptive characters that any child might find visually appealing & attractive; the more critical part of this book, being the “moral” of the story, that is…..I feel, would not or, could not, be comprehended until a much older age.
I strongly recommend this book for ages 12 & up.
This book is aimed predominantly at children and so it’s not something I would normally read or review.
However, I have to say that I loved it and can not fault the story or the writing at all.
Not since reading Animal Farm as part of my year 7 English class can I recall reading anything from the point of view of animals living in a human like society.
And just like with that book, Mungai and the Goa Constrictor takes you on a journey of intrigue and quite self discovery. To a world that, were it not for the fact that the characters are jungle animals, it could be set in any school, town, business, or city near you.
Where the top dog is always looking for ways to be bigger and better with less effort, by taking more from the less worldly and more gullible underdog.
With great dastardly characters and lovable up risers, and set amongst the glorious, if disappearing backdrop of an undisclosed jungle, Mungai and the Goa Constrictor is a cautionary tale and a must read book for all.
An engaging and subliminally educational 5 Star read.
Mungai and the Goa Constrictor by Amelia Curzon is a wonderful story. It is allegorical in the tradition of Animal Farm, and I must admit I am a fan of allegories, but it is also a witty and fascinating story filled with a splendid collection of characters. There are important messages in this book. Themes such as responsibility, needs versus desires, and trustworthiness are woven into the plot. There is also wit and whimsy and a cast of thoroughly enjoyable animal characters.
Mungai and the Goa Constrictor is a fairly quick read and the action moves swiftly. There is never a dull moment. Many of the interactions between the animals will seem familiar as indeed they are insightful into human society. The animals have a certain irrepressible spirit that shines through, even in the worst situations, which is authentically heartening. One can’t help but despair, however, at the damage Mungai and Goa inflict upon the others through their greedy and self-centered behaviors.
Mungai is a sneaky and manipulative creature. He is not quite lovable, but certainly unforgettable! I think we have all met a Mungai at some point in our lives! There are also many animals on the good side of things. I liked Caw-Caw the crow and, of course, the outrageously named Captain Gerald Rupert Horatio Peanuts Brice-Copperbottom! Mungai and the Goa Constrictor is a charming story filled with much wisdom of the sort the world so desperately needs. I highly recommend it!
Mungai and the Goa Constrictor is a finely crafted fable that can be enjoyed by older children and adults alike. As in most classic fables, we live the bulk of the story through the animals, in this case those of the woodland and jungle, but there are a few two-legs, as the animals refer to them, rounding out the forces of good and evil. The reader never quite discovers what Mungai, the creature who sets the story in motion, is; we just know he’s bad news. For purely selfish reasons, Mungai aligns himself with Goa, a boa constrictor, who for equally selfish reasons, conspires with Mungai to lie to, flatter, entice, and persuade the good animals of the woodland to follow them to the forest to do their bidding with promises of many rewards and an easier, better life.
The animals slowly become aware that the only ones their hard work appears to benefit are Mungai and Goa. Still, they are grateful for the meager scraps of food and flattery Mungai has given them, and rather than trust their own doubts and intuition, they continue to do his bidding, even ignoring a trusted friend who discovers the truth and tries to warn them.
When the animals finally do realize the truth, they band together with some of the good two-legs and devise a plan to stop Mungai, Goa, and the bad two-legs before they can destroy the forest.
Curzon deftly shows us how easy it is to be taken in by flattery and the promise of more for less, even when the voice in our heart and head is telling us something isn’t right. She offers up the age-old battle of good vs evil, right vs wrong, and the fine line that is straddled between them. We are reminded that if something sounds too good to be true it probably is, and that we need to trust our instincts because evil will always be out there, looking for its next victim. This is a quick read and one I thoroughly enjoyed.
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