Banzai's Unexpected Voyage

Children - Preteen
160 Pages
Reviewed on 06/30/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A former English teacher and Creative Writing tutor, Jane lives in landlocked Oxfordshire. She often runs away to Pembrokeshire where she spent many summers as a child and where she now writes. The castles, old harbour towns, hidden beaches and remote islands remain magical to her.
Those who know Tenby may recognise thinly-disguised elements of St Benfro and Monastery island in her books GRUBSON PUG'S CHRISTMAS VOYAGE and the sequel BANZAI'S UNEXPECTED VOYAGE.

Jane is now working on a novel set in Venice ...

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Banzai’s Unexpected Voyage is a short work of adventurous children’s fiction penned by author Jane-Anne Hodgson and completed with illustrations by Sammy Jim/Sam Hodgson. Aimed at six to ten-year-olds for its read alone qualities, this is the sequel to Grubson Pug’s Christmas Voyage. We return to a new seafaring adventure just a few days after the Christmas Voyage, when Banzai the arm-wrestling cat goes missing. As Grubson sets out to find his friend, we follow Banzai’s unusual journey as it takes him to the Venice carnival, and to a family member he didn’t expect to run into. What follows is a comedy caper with plenty of color, charm, and cats galore.

I found this work to be utterly charming from start to finish. The line drawn illustrations add yet more color and experience to what is already a superb plot, filled with exciting characters and plenty of room for fun and hijinks to occur. Banzai takes center stage in the story, allowing us to unfold some of his mysteries, and his little nephew is truly adorable as he sets out to find his enigmatic uncle. Author Jane-Anne Hodgson has a great variety of language usage which remains within the accessible range for her readership’s age but also educates them with plenty of good vocabulary pieces to learn in context. I also enjoyed this book for its pure and wholesome qualities of adventure, and I believe overall that Banzai’s Unexpected Voyage will provide an excellent and entertaining read for children everywhere.

Rabia Tanveer

Just when things settled down after Christmas, Banzai was persuaded to confront some of his hard-kept secrets and face the music in Banzai's Unexpected Voyage by Jane-Anne Hodgson. Soon after that, the feisty cat vanished from St Benfro and it is now up to Grubson Pug to once again leave his home behind. Looking for his friend should not have been that difficult, but somehow it is. He is now traveling through Europe to Venice in hopes of finding Banzai, but Banzai is having a very hard time. His only option is to accept help from his friends or else he may never be able to get back home. Will his pride keep him hanging back? Or will he let his friends guide him home?

Banzai's Unexpected Voyage by Jane-Anne Hodgson is a fun story to read to children or have a pre-teen read themselves. With a message behind an elaborate tale of adventure, friendship and always doing the right thing despite bad decisions made, this story is great for children. Banzai is a very entertaining character that had me smiling with his antics; however, on the other hand, Grubson Pug is a responsible yet slightly impulsive character who loves with all his heart. He needs to protect the people he cares about, which is a great lesson for children. The fast pace and the overall length of the story are perfect to maintain the attention and interest of young readers. I personally enjoyed it a lot, especially after the point in the story when Grubson went in search of his feisty friend. The descriptions were great, the flow was awesome, and the characters were adorable. All in all, this has been a brilliant read.

Edith Wairimu

Following its predecessor, Grubson Pug’s Christmas Voyage, Banzai's Unexpected Voyage by Jane-Anne Hodgson is packed with delightful adventure told through the escapades of its quirky set of characters. Henri, Captain Grubson’s son, is excited to visit his friend Horatio Fox along with Banzai, the ship’s cat. When Henri and Banzai arrive at the mansion, Horatio is quick to notice Banzai’s heavy bag. Not one to be deterred, Horatio continues to question Banzai about the contents of the bag despite Banzai’s hesitation. The episode causes Banzai to finally address everything he has been carrying along with him. In haste, Banzai leaves St Benfro aboard The Resolve. An urgent letter arrives for him but by then he has already left. It is up to Captain Grubson and his crew to chase after The Resolve all over Europe and pass along the important letter.

The characters in Banzai's Unexpected Voyage are realistic, comical and share a wonderful bond. Though Banzai looks brave on the outside, he has a secret that he is not willing to share for fear of embarrassment. He is also hasty and likes to chew on garlic. Henri, on the other hand, is determined to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a sailor, despite his family not believing in him. The work is set in different places across Europe where exciting events happen as Captain Grubson’s ship tries to catch up with the ship Banzai is on. The work’s pace is fast at times but slows down to take in the activities surrounding the characters. Inspiring lessons such as Henri’s resolve to fulfill his dreams will resonate with both young and adult readers. Banzai's Unexpected Voyage by Jane-Anne Hodgson stands out for its well-developed characters, its captivating adventures and the enlightening lessons it contains.

Dan M. Kalin

In a word, delightful! Jane-Anne Hodgson continues the maritime adventures of Banzai, the garlic-chewing, arm-wrestling, sailor cat. Banzai and his fellow crewmates (dogs and a bossy parrot) of the good ship Beagle have barely made it home from a killer storm, needing major repairs to their ship. Almost all of the ship's crew are very pleased to be home safe, but Banzai seems to be weighed down by more than what is in his sea-bag. Soon his good friends convince Banzai to share what is bothering him. It turns out Banzai has some family obligations he must resolve in Venice, which immediately takes him on a voyage with The Resolve, which happens to be headed in that direction. Almost immediately after Banzai has departed, an urgent letter arrives from his mother. His young nephew, Bonzai, has run away to sea and must be found as soon as possible. Banzai's friends know they must deliver this message and so they set off in the newly repaired Beagle in hot pursuit of The Resolve.

Banzai's Unexpected Voyage is a wonderful children's story, and definitely one adults won't mind reading repeatedly to the children in their life. Jane-Anne Hodgson has expertly woven a series of life lessons with many deft turns of phrase which will appeal to children, as well as most adults. The language doesn't talk down to the younger readers but is clearly understandable and represents a step up when it comes time for the youngster to read it on their own. The illustrations and formatting add tremendously to the book's appeal and stands among the best I have seen in this genre. When it comes time to read my grandchildren a story before bed, Banzai's Unexpected Voyage will be one that makes my very short list.