THE AMAZING TREE by John Kilaka

THE AMAZING TREE

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Collected from a Tanzanian Fipa storyteller but available in similar versions from several traditions, this tale sends three successive delegations of starving animals to wise Tortoise for the magical name that will cause a certain tree to drop its fruit. Unfortunately, minor distractions cause them all to forget the name before they can get back. In smoothly finished paintings Kilaka portrays animals in brightly patterned housedresses and other casual clothing flashing big eyes and looking flummoxed by their own short attention spans. Eventually little Rabbit manages to make the trip from Tortoise to tree successfully, and all are saved. Possibly because the text is three languages away from its original it reads with wooden formality, and the magical name Tortoise and Rabbit find so easy to remember will seem anything but to English-speaking ears. The art, however, adds enough child appeal to make this a viable alternative to Celia Lottridge’s Name of the Tree (1989, illustrated by Ian Wallace) or Jan Mogensen’s Kakalambalala (1993). (Picture book/folktale. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7358-2254-2
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: NorthSouth
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2009