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Average Jo synopsis V2

by  mafunyane

Posted: Saturday, November 8, 2008
Word Count: 513
Summary: Slightly revised for the third time(!), this is the synopsis for Average Jo and the Magnificent Seven, a kids adventure novel for 8-12s.
Related Works: Average Jo Chapter 1 • Average Jo CHAPTER 2 • Average Jo Chapter 4 • 

Thirteen year old JO BAKER is bored of her average suburban life and jumps at the chance to join her film-making aunt and uncle for the summer in South Africa’s largest national park. At first she’s not impressed by her canvas home, the size of the spiders or her uncle’s interest in boring birds. The book her brother gave her about trampling elephants doesn’t help either.

When she befriends quirky Afrikaans boy, LOURENS DE KLERK, who lost his mother when he was just five, and his black friend, KENNY NKUNA, who has the most amazing cheekbones, she starts to appreciate her surroundings more. The three friends enjoy a range of amazing wildlife adventures, from evading charging elephants and saving an abandoned buffalo calf to capturing giraffes. The only downside is the way some people treat Kenny.

Lourens also introduces Jo to the captivating stories of the Magnificent Seven, a group of elephants with massive tusks whose record-breaking ivory is now on display in the local Museum. When the Museum is ransacked and the beautiful curved tusk of her favourite animal is stolen, Jo pledges to get it back. Ignoring claims that mourning elephants are to blame, she first suspects everyone’s hero, crocodile-wrestling OOM LOUIS, after witnessing him in an uncharacteristic argument with a mysterious man.

The mystery man turns out to be Lourens’ beloved father, MR DE KLERK, and when her own photographic evidence also shows him at the Museum on the night of the theft, Jo has to find out more. Worried for Lourens’ sake, she breaks into de Klerk’s workshop and discovers he is carving illegal ivory trinkets for sale to tourists.

Her relationship with Kenny now growing, the two hatch a plot to follow de Klerk on the upcoming giraffe capture to Mozambique, where they believe he may stash the ivory. Just before they set off across the border, Jo comes face to face with the biggest tusker of them all. Stranded in the bush with a ten tonne elephant standing over her, she ends up using a trick from her brother’s book to save her own life.

As expected, de Klerk takes a detour to bury the tusk and Jo and Kenny retrieve it once he has gone. Dragging the ivory through the bush, they come under threat from a pride of hungry lions. A large herd of elephant come to their rescue and escort them safely back to the border where they radio for help. The long walk gives Jo a chance to re-consider her average life and the value of a secure and loving family.

Back at camp, Jo and Kenny confide in Oom Louis and discover that Lourens’ father had been worried about losing his job. Louis agrees to offer him a new position where his carving skills can be put to good use, the tusk is put back on display and Lourens never needs to know the truth.

Jo returns home with a new found appreciation of herself and her life, an insatiable interest in the natural world, and the memory of a wonderful romance.