THE BANZA: A Haitian Story by Diane--Adapt. Wolkstein

THE BANZA: A Haitian Story

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A little tiger, Teegra, and a little goat, Cabree, become unlikely friends when both take shelter from a storm in a cave. Then, after Teegra is re-united with his family, he presents Cabree with a banza, a little banjo, for self-protection. ""When you play the banza, Auntie says to place it over your heart, and 'one day the heart and banza will be one.'"" And one day, sure enough, Cabree is threatened by ten fierce tigers--and saved by accidentally plucking the banza, then stroking it ""in time to her heartbeat."" She opens her mouth, and out comes ""a loud, low, ferocious song."" A song that she repeats, reducing the number--""Ten fat tigers, ten fat tigers,/ Cabree eats tigers raw./ Yesterday Cabree ate ten tigers;/ Today Cabree eats ten more""--until all the startled tigers have stolen off. The theme has a perennial appeal, but the clincher is the sight of the ten fat, glowering tigers suddenly turning to jelly at the sound of Cabree's equally incongruous song. Nothing about the text or the illustration is subtle or distinctive; at no time, on the other hand, does either fail to connect.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1982
Publisher: Dial