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Download Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood Audiobook, by Robyn Scott Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (859 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robyn Scott Narrator: Robyn Scott Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2008 ISBN: 9781429592574
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An exquisitely rendered portrait of an African childhood from an astonishing new talent

When Robyn Scott’s parents decide to uproot their young family from New Zealand and move to a converted cowshed in rural Botswana, life for six-year-old Robyn changed forever. In this wild and new landscape excitement can be found around every corner, and with each misadventure she and her family learn more about the quirks, charms, and challenges of living in one of Africa’s most remarkable and beautiful countries as it stands on the brink of an epidemic. When AIDS rears its head, the Scotts witness the early appearances of a disease that will devastate this peaceful and prosperous country. Told with clear-eyed unsentimental affection, Twenty Chickens for a Saddle is about a family’s enthusiasm for each other and the world around them, with the essence of Africa infusing every page.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Happy stories are hard to tell, but Scott succeeds in this engaging recreation of a child's Botswana, apolitical and Eden-like.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • [A] beautiful and loving portrait. The Boston Globe
  • “A colorful, occasionally shocking fish-out-of-water memoir.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/19/2014

    " This memoir is written by a woman who moved with her parents and two younger siblings to Botswana when she was eight or nine. Her father was a flying doctor and her mom was a sometimes-author, home-school teacher who together created a very loose but very loving home. It was a pretty interesting read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 1/30/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was sad to see it end. It is the true story of Robyn Scott's childhood growing up in Botswana. I have always dreamed of going to Africa, and this book definitely added fuel to my fire. I loved reading about all the encounters with wild animals and the crazy adventures of the Scott family, but also learned a lot about the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and how it affected the African population. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 1/28/2014

    " Another growing up white in Africa memoir - this time in Botswana. I think she might have the most laid-back parents that I have ever read about. A really interesting, unique childhood - I was constantly reading sections to Matt... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Pamela | 1/17/2014

    " The eccentricities and adventures of this young family establishing themselves in an out of the way spot in Southern Africa may be entertaining to some. Memoirs seem difficult to write in an engaging way. I just couldn't keep interested...I couldn't finish it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lena | 1/12/2014

    " Given the title and the description of a childhood in Africa, I had high hopes for this book based on similar books I have read. However, this one was rather boring. For most of the more than 400 pages, the childhood could have been that of any expat child almost anywhere, as the story featured the parents, the siblings, the other relatives, pets, local wildlife and local plants. There was little conflict, very little drama, and I almost gave up reading except that I had ordered this as an interlibrary loan. The exception to the boredom came close to the end, with an informative seemingly well researched chapter on AIDS and the impact it had in Botswana from the late 1980s until recently. I wish the author had added some equally informative decriptions of the effect that the end of apartheid had on the Botswana region - socially, economically, educationally - right by the South African border where much of the "action" was set. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucy | 1/10/2014

    " This memoir takes place in Botswana. Since being in Zimbabwe last June, I have begun searching out more books on Africa. (Of course I'd read "Out of Africa" before going.) Like "The Flame Trees of Thika," this is told from the point of view of a young girl whose adventurous family settles in Africa. The main difference is how recently this story takes place, the 1990's, and the author is only in her twenties now. Both books describe hardships but, due to their youth, the authors don't really have to deal with the adversity. Their parents do. And, in both cases, the parents seem to have made light of their struggles in front of the children, For the kids, it's all an adventurous lark. All of which makes Africa seem almost benign. To be fair, there are references to AIDS, death, etc., but for the most part, it just seems fun. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 1/3/2014

    " Book club choice for August. I am sorry I missed the discussion as I would love to know what others thought. I found this entertaining but it got a little self-aggrandizing as it progressed. Initially reminded me of 'Glass Castles' just because I kept wondering what those people were thinking living in a cow shed! However it became clear they had a lot more money and were typical 60's hippies in many ways. In all a fairly good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dianne Gowder | 12/29/2013

    " I loved this book. Just a great story "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alyson Bryant | 12/23/2013

    " I loved this book. The story of an unconventional upbringing, mainly based in Botswana. Made me want to up sticks and move out there; always a sign of a good "travel" book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Camille | 11/21/2013

    " I couldn't get beyond the second chapter...this book literally put me to sleep every night! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtney Workman | 11/16/2013

    " Just finished and found this to be an amusing and informative memoir. Love the quackiness and intelligence throughout. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hollie | 10/21/2013

    " Great memoir for the author's family to have. Interesting to read about her life in Africa and her experiences being homeschooled by her mother. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cara | 10/4/2013

    " Reading this book after having lived in Botswana for a few months, I found so much I could relate to! Scott does as excellent a job of describing the cultural quirks of that country as she does the quirks of her crazy but lovable family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marlene | 9/2/2013

    " Great read - a bit of adventure, a true account of growing up in Botswana "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Veronique | 6/16/2013

    " sad book about being brought up in Zimbabwe "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leanne | 11/26/2012

    " What an amazing book! A fantastic memoir of a family who emigrate from NZ to Botswana. The recount of their ups & downs & unusual lifestyle is told through the eyes of the eldest child. Highly recommended "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter Atwood | 11/14/2012

    " Oh my God, the BEST book of 2008 hands down IMO. Robyn Scott brings to life a most unusual childhood and an unforgetable setting. I was fascinated from the very first page and could not put this book down. Immediately went out and ordered a couple of copies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret Gilbertson | 5/28/2012

    " I loved this book. Robyn Scott writes well and the story is informative and interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mia Lucia Manifold | 5/26/2012

    " This is a book that is intimate and informing.It is a childhood memoir that is fascinating because the author's childhood was gifted by her exposure to a place and people that inspire independence and curiosity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 1/25/2012

    " What a fabulous true story about a family growing up "on the fringe" in Botswana in the '80s and '90s. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 sonita | 1/11/2012

    " Very interesting book about the author's childhood in Botswana. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 10/31/2011

    " I'd give it 4 1/2 stars, just not 5 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacey | 7/3/2011

    " Definitely a twist on homeschooling for this family. I enjoyed the family's unique experiences, things you couldn't imagine growing up and going through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rhonda Sarantis | 6/29/2011

    " This was good company from Boise to Sacramento. A memoir from a woman who was raised in Botswana. Many unexpected experiences from unorthodox parents in an extraordinary place! She and her siblings benefitted from this unique upbringing, and it's fun reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina | 6/21/2011

    " This is one of the most engaging biographies I've read. The author grew up in Africa in an unconventional, but loving, family. She is an excellent writer, and has included details about how the AIDS epidemic is affecting Africa, and other African history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leanne | 4/17/2011

    " What an amazing book! A fantastic memoir of a family who emigrate from NZ to Botswana. The recount of their ups & downs & unusual lifestyle is told through the eyes of the eldest child. Highly recommended "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brit | 4/8/2011

    " What an intriguing, interesting book that has made me want to jump on a plane to Botswana. Robyn Scott had a most fascinating childhood and it was eye-opening to read about. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and will definitely recommend and reread. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurel | 1/10/2011

    " Interesting look at life in Africa but it wasn't one of those books I just couldn't put down. I also wonder if the kids were just smart or if that "type" of homeschooling really worked. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 1/4/2011

    " First, I loved the title. A memoir of a young girl growing up in Botswana. Beautiful, fun stories--though it was a bit long. I love reading and learning of new places--a great adventure. Thanks to my sweet son for buying for me for Christmas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Veronique | 11/29/2010

    " sad book about being brought up in Zimbabwe "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Camille | 11/8/2010

    " I couldn't get beyond the second chapter...this book literally put me to sleep every night! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheena | 10/9/2010

    " Read for my new Shrewsbury Library Reading Group. The cover didn't attract me but I really enjoyed this mix of My family and other animals and No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The author herself comes across as charming as do all her family in their different ways. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cara | 9/19/2010

    " Reading this book after having lived in Botswana for a few months, I found so much I could relate to! Scott does as excellent a job of describing the cultural quirks of that country as she does the quirks of her crazy but lovable family. "

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About the Author

Robyn Scott began her formal education at the age of fourteen, when she started boarding school in Zimbabwe. Moving to New Zealand for her undergraduate degree, she studied bioinformatics at the University of Auckland. In 2004, she was awarded a Gates Scholarship to Cambridge University, where she took an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise, focused on the pricing of medicines in developing countries. Robyn lives in London, but visits and works regularly in southern Africa.