I...Am...Cheetah!

The Gift

Children - Animals
154 Pages
Reviewed on 05/10/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

I...Am...Cheetah! The Gift is a work of fiction in the animals and nature sub-genre and was penned by author Stephanie J. Teer. The work is intended for the children’s reading audience and contains easy-to-read chapters perfect for independent readers of around 8 to 12 years old. Forming the first Wild Animal Kids Club is no mean feat, but five friends who share a passion for animals will go against the grain of the bullies in their lives and take a stand. Along the way, these bright young sparks learn about endangered species and the marvel of nature, whilst also learning to stand up for what they believe in and defeat the Safari Park bully for good.

Author Stephanie J. Teer has crafted a charming work of fiction with plenty of animal antics and good clean fun to offer readers. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was its spirit and the positive ethos that runs through every word of every chapter. It is clear that Teer has a passion to bring clean, imaginative, and non-violent stories to young readers, and this short and sweet novel delivers exactly that. Vibrant characters mix with exciting animals on their learning journey, which also provides some really fantastic factual content to whet kids’ appetites and hopefully encourage them to learn more. I also really adored how social the book was and how it models young people bonding over knowledge and awareness. Overall, I would highly recommend I...Am...Cheetah! The Gift to fans of delightfully crafted characters, educational chapter books, and for children interested in the animal world.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Stephanie J. Teer pens an enchanting children’s story in I Am Cheetah! It is park day for the children of Long Beach. The Cedillo kids, Nathan, David, and Gabby, look forward to a fun time with friends and the activities at the Safari Park every week. The Cedillo family has a long family history of being animal lovers. The children were raised to have “respect for every living creature.” The day starts out like every other park day; however, the enjoyment quickly turns to embarrassment when Gabby is bullied by the captain of the girls’ soccer team. As a result, Nathan decides it is time to share a magical secret with his little brother and sister. The next park day, Nathan has Gabby and David bring their best friends, Cassidy and Dorian, to Lion’s Den. Once inside, the group joins together to start “The Wild Animal Kids Club.” The purpose of the club is to learn about endangered animals. The group decides the cheetah will be their first animal to study. After a brief discussion about the cheetah, Nathan begins to tell a story. At the story’s conclusion, Nathan places a box filled with beads in front of them. These are no ordinary beads, they hold a rare power, a magical gift. The kids are amazed, filled with wonder as the day turns out to be the best day ever! Anything is possible if you believe.

I Am Cheetah is the first book in Stephanie J. Teer’s series, The Wild Animal Kids Club. The narrative is written with a flair to inspire and delight animal lovers. Speaking to the heart of a child, this fun-filled story embraces excitement and the power of imagination. Yet, it also covers the issue of bullying, the importance of being responsible, while sharing many animal facts. Teer masterfully writes the dialogue, allowing the characters to speak and think as children do. The antics of the cubs and the children are realistically hilarious. As I read, I was reminded of Nickelodeons’ Wild Thornberrys! You never know what lessons are to be learned through animal relationships. The central theme of “anything is possible if only you believe” is the foundation for the story. Although the magical experience of the cheetah cubs sparks the imagination, it is the heart change of the bully that truly allows the theme to shine and be remembered. Teer closes each chapter with an element of intrigue, luring the reader into the next chapter with “what’s going to happen next?” This curiosity lingers as the narrative concludes - what happens next to The Wild Animal Kids Club is yet to be revealed. I Am Cheetah by Stephanie J. Teer is the first of many thrilling animal kingdom stories.

Kayla Cook

There’s no stronger magic than a child’s imagination, a lesson well-taught by Stephanie J. Teer in I…Am…Cheetah! The Gift, book one of the exciting Wild Animal Kids Club middle-grade series. It’s a beautiful day at Safari Park. Gabby, David, and Nathan can’t wait to play with their friends this Park Day. However, when a bully ruins their day by teasing little Gabby for loving animals, Nathan decides it’s time to start a club for kids passionate about animals and share the magical secret he’s been entrusted with. Along with their friends Cassidy and Dorian, Nathan and his siblings form the Wild Animal Kids Club. Join the Wild Animal Kids Club as they discover the power of belief and imagination, learn about endangered animals through means they never expected, and become Wildlife Warriors in their own way.

Though aimed at children ages eight to ten, I…Am…Cheetah! by Stephanie J. Teer is a delightful, imaginative story that can be enjoyed by animal lovers of all ages. With beautiful illustrations by Monika Lea Jones, an exciting plot, and interesting characters, this story excelled at delivering educational content in a format that can hold a child’s attention and make learning more enjoyable. The additional facts and engaging color photos in the back of the book were an especially nice touch. I loved that this story also taught many valuable lessons, such as standing up for what you believe in, not stooping to a bully’s level, not letting bullying change who you are, and taking up for yourself and others against bullying. I…am…Cheetah! The Gift is an excellent read that’s sure to capture the hearts of children and adults alike.