PLEASE, MALESE! by Amy MacDonald

PLEASE, MALESE!

A Trickster Tale from Haiti
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9

KIRKUS REVIEW

The stories of Haiti are filled with the deeds of the clever, sly Ti Malice and his acquaintance Bouki, whose wits are not as nimble. In her author’s note, MacDonald (Quentin Fenton Herter III, 2002, etc.) acknowledges using a tale of a “legendary shrewd peasant” referred to in a book on Haitian culture, The Magic Island (1929), by W.B. Seabrook, a New York Times reporter and a great traveler. Her character Malese (a variation on Ti Malice) fools various villagers into providing rum and shoes for him in an ingenious way, just as the peasant Theot Brun succeeded in doing in the original story, credited to Ernest Chauvet, publisher of Le Nouvelliste, a venerable Haitian newspaper. She has taken this story, whether legendary or true, and constructed her own trickster tale in which Malese not only winds up with a jug that is filled with more rum than water and a full pair of new shoes made to his specifications by two different cobblers, but also a donkey ride from Bouki. When his neighbors try to lock up Malese for a month to punish him for his illegitimate dealings, he uses his gift of gab to shame them into freeing him after only one day—and fixing his roof in the bargain. Lisker’s (The Story of Shabbat, 2000, etc.) exciting paintings, with their intense tropical colors and bold forms, are reminiscent of Haitian paintings, but lack the detail and specificity of the most interesting of the country’s naïf works. Readers can start here to get a taste of this particular trickster tradition and then go on to find other tales about Ti Malice. (author’s note) (Folktale. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 2002
ISBN: 0-374-36000-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2002




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