Cover image for Panther
Booth, Martin.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret McElderry Books, 2001.

Physical Description:
85 pages ; 21 cm
Two teenagers discover a panther family living in the English countryside and determine to protect the wild animals.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.9 2.0 55817.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Two teenagers discover a panther family living in the English countryside and determine to protect the wild animals.

Author Notes

Martin Booth (September 7, 1944-February 12, 2004) was a prolific British novelist and poet. He also worked as a teacher and screenwriter, and was the founder of the Sceptre Press. Booth died after an 18-month struggle with cancer in 2004.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. Fourteen-year-old Pati loves wild cats and her friend, Simon, wants to be a gamekeeper. When the two teens and their parents go camping in England's West Country, Simon and Pati become convinced there's a panther around and set out to track it. Pati is the clear leader of the duo. She not only sticks her hand into the guts of a recently killed sheep, she also can interpret animal droppings. Simon is a bit more hesitant but follows along willingly. What's refreshing about this slender novel is how uncomplicated both Simon and Pati are. Both children are good students from completely functional households. There is no symbolism in the search for the cat and the children are never in any real danger. The simple, fast-moving plot and capable protagonists make this a good choice for reluctant readers. --Marta Segal



Chapter One The Three H's How long Pati had been asleep, she could not tell. When she woke, it was with a start. She listened hard, holding her breath. Something was scratching around outside the trailer. It was not loud, but insistent, frantic. She could only just hear it over her father's gentle, wheezing snore. It was joined by a sort of purring. Very slowly, so as not to make the trailer creak, Pati reached over and gradually slid the curtain along on its rail. Outside, the moonlight was bright. In the trailer's shadow was a small plastic garbage can. She pressed her cheek to the cold glass. Something black was moving around the can. The purring was louder. In Pati's mind, a series of ordered images appeared. It was as if she were looking around her bedroom at home, at her posters of the snarling tiger, the jaguar crouched by a stream in the Amazonian jungle, the pride of lions with bloodstained muzzles tearing a zebra carcass, the Rocky Mountain cougar feasting on a deer. Only the leopard asleep in the fork of a tree was not menacing. The cheetah behind the door was in full flight after a baby gazelle: In the poster over the stereo, it had it by the throat. As she thought of her posters, Pati remembered one initial fact: At times, even big cats scavenge for food. Suddenly, as if it sensed her watching, the animal by the garbage can froze. The purring immediately stopped. Every nerve in Pati's body was as taut as the strings of a violin bow. For a moment, all was still. Then, with a shambling movement, the creature raced into the moonlight and vanished into the hedge. For a brief moment, Pati saw a black-and-white-striped head. Disappointed, she rolled back on her bunk but did not fall asleep immediately. Reaching under her pillow, she pulled out her pen flashlight and, keeping it under the quilt so as not to wake her parents, switched it on. From inside the book she was reading, wedged down the side of the thin mattress, she took out her most recent newspaper clipping and read the headline: Devon "Panther" Slaughters Six Lambs Sheep Farmers Irate at Big Cat Threat I'll bet it was dogs, she thought. Sheep worriers. No big cat would kill six lambs for sheer fun. It would only kill one, to eat. She scanned the article. There was no mention of any of the lambs being eaten, only mutilated. By the time Pati next woke, the sun was up. It was warm upon her skin as she stepped out of the trailer. Simon was sitting on a folding chair in front of his parents' trailer parked nearby, reading a wildlife magazine. "Hi, Si!" Pati greeted him. Simon looked up. "Hi, Pats. You hear anything during the night?" "It was only a badger," Pati replied sadly, adding, "Have they gone?" "Long ago," Simon answered briefly. "Why do our fathers do it?" Pati wondered aloud. "Same weekend, every year. I mean, where's the enjoyment in trout fishing?" "I suppose," Simon said, "if we worked all day at a desk in Mercantile Marine Management Consultants, we'd do something like fishing..." "Not me!" Pati declared, sitting on the bench by the picnic table. "Besides, I'm not going to be a computer disk jockey." Pati knew what she wanted to be -- a naturalist making television wildlife documentaries. Simon wanted to be a gamekeeper or, in his wildest dreams, a game warden in Africa. "That's my target animal this weekend," Simon declared, holding the magazine open at a two-page spread of a stag with a full set of antlers. "Nice one," Pati said absentmindedly. Simon knew what she was thinking and asked, "Do you really believe there's a big cat living on the moors in the West Country?" "Could be," said Pati. "People've taken photos -- even videos -- of it." "People've taken photos of the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot," Simon remarked. "Doesn't mean they exist. A bit of driftwood bobbing on the water, a man in a monkey suit." He made a face, scratched his armpit, and grunted. "None of the pictures've been clear." "No," Pati said thoughtfully, "but they're all possible. Think, Si! Only a few years ago they found a new species of deer in Vietnam. Totally unknown to science." "Vietnam's got jungles, mountains, swamps," Simon replied sharply. "This is England. Towns, villages, fields, six-lane highways." Pati nodded. "True. You'd think that at least one would be found run over. Foxes and badgers are hit by cars..." "If it was run over, that would be the end of it," Simon stated. Pati sighed and said, "Si, put your brain in gear." "What do you mean?" Simon began, a little hurt. "Put your brain around this," Pati said. "It's not a big cat." "Well, if it's not a..." Then it dawned on him. "You mean there's a whole colony of them!" "Colony!" snorted Pati mockingly. "They're not ants." "What are you two up to today?" Simon's mother asked, coming out of her trailer with plates of scrambled eggs. Pati's mother followed, carrying mugs of coffee. "As if we need to ask!" Pati's mother exclaimed. Simon's mother put the plates on the table. "We're going to look for one of these," Simon announced, holding up his magazine. "What is it?" his mother asked. "An antelope?" Pati and Simon exchanged exasperated glances. "It's a fallow deer," Simon said patiently. "Antelopes live in Africa." "Be careful on the moor," Pati's mother warned them. However, she wasn't too worried about them going off. Pati knew what she was doing, and Simon, though he was younger, was no fool. "Back by seven," Simon's mother went on. "No later. Supper's at half past. If you're not back by dark, you know what'll happen?" "Yes, Mom," Simon replied. "We know, The Three H's. Help, Helicopters, and Hospitals." Excerpted from Panther by Martin Booth. Copyright © 1999 by Martin Booth. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.