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Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2013 Drought has hit the African plains, wiping out all vegetation except for one lush fruit tree. A vigilant python encircles its trunk, permitting a taste of the fruit only to those who know the tree’s name. Hungry and desperate, Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Monkey, and Tortoise decide to seek the answer from the king of the jungle. One by one they journey to the lion, learn the name of the tree, and promptly forget it as they travel home. All that is, except Tortoise, who makes up a clever rhyme to remember “Bojabi.” Ideal for storytimes, this African folktale (with source note) makes effective use of repetition and invites melody to engage listeners. Grobler’s line and watercolor illustrations employ slender, edgy lines that give the animals a sophisticated goofiness, while the subtle earth-toned palette, mostly spots and planes against the white background, is enlivened by amusing detail and the injection of text into the art. Simple and celebratory, this story will fare especially well among a group who loves proving all they can remember. AA - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2013 PreS-Gr 2—A retelling of an old African tale. During a famine, the animals are desperate for food and find a marvelous tree full of juicy fruit. However, a gigantic python has wrapped itself around the trunk and will not let them reach the fruit unless they can name the tree. Only Lion, King of the Jungle, knows its name, and Zebra sets off to ask him because he is the fastest. It is a long way to where Lion is napping, but Zebra finds him and gets his answer. On his way back, he gets distracted and forgets the tree's name. After several attempts by the other animals bring a similar result, an unlikely hero emerges. This is a wonderful story for telling; it may be familiar to some as "Uwungelema," and it is great to have a current version of it. Bright, detailed watercolor illustrations spill across the pages and capture the action and humor of the tale. A winner for most collections.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.