The Warm Place

by Nancy Farmer

Hardcover, 1995



Local notes

PB Far





Orchard Books (1995), Edition: Second Printing, 152 pages


When Ruva, a young giraffe, is captured and sent to a zoo in San Francisco, she calls upon two rats, a street-smart chameleon, a runaway boy, and all the magical powers of the animal world to return to the warm place that is home.


Nēnē Award (Nominee — 1997)


Original language


Physical description

152 p.; 5.75 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member plappen
This young adult novel is about a baby giraffe, who, unintentionally, goes on a great adventure.

Ruva is a female baby giraffe happily living with her family in Africa. One day, she ignores the warning by her mother to stay away from things with which she is not familiar. Next thing she knows, Ruva
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is caught in a net, taken from her family, and put on a steamship heading for parts unknown. While on board, she meets Rodnetus von Stroheim III, a very smart talking rat, who begins tutoring Ruva in general knowledge. You never know when knowing the multiplication tables might be useful.

Ruva ends up at a third-rate zoo in California. Dante, the owner, is more interested in gouging the public than in taking care of the animals. It's a place of concrete and iron bars, and it does not help Ruva's frame of mind to be next door to the lions. Ruva is helped by knowledge of the Warm Place, the instinctive feeling that home is ... That Way.

Along with a lock-picking rat named Troll, and a cynical chameleon named Nelson (who has a really interesting talent when it comes to lions), Ruva breaks out of the zoo, and finds a ship headed for Africa. There they meet Jabir, a young black boy who is a servant/slave with his own reasons for wanting to go to Africa. They stowaway on the ship, joined by Rodentus, crewed by the Slopes, the same demons/trolls who kidnapped Ruva in the beginning.

Also on the ship is a crate of strangleweeds, a very fast growing plant that can suck a lake dry or pull down every tree in a forest very quickly. The Slopes plan something really unpleasant for the human, and animal, residents of Africa with the strangleweeds. Can Ruva and friends stop their evil plan? Does Ruva make it back her to her family?

This is an excellent book for children, and will certainly keep them interested. Teenagers and adults might notice a plot hole or two, but it is still worth reading.
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½ (11 ratings; 3.7)
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