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DO YOU KNOW ME by Nancy Farmer


by Nancy Farmer & illustrated by Shelley Jackson

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-531-05474-8
Publisher: Orchard

 ``Do You Know Me,'' Tapiwa silently projects, glaring at her snobbish classmates as she stalks out of the exclusive school where she's ostracized--though she's at the top of her class- -because her father is a lowly bank teller. The words underline the serious theme of this farcical look at a clash between cultures: middle-class Zimbabwe (where Tapiwa's family lives simply, even though her aunt's husband is ``Minister of Progress'') and the traditions of Father's brother Zeka (who moves in with them after ``bandits'' destroy his village in Mozambique). Endowed with native wit and skills appropriate to a primitive life--though less well equipped with common sense--the entrancing Uncle Zeka wins Tapiwa's cooperation in his disastrous schemes and keeps the loyal affection of her increasingly beleaguered parents through a series of outrageous, embarrassing, sometimes life-threatening mishaps. He almost drowns Tapiwa when she tries to teach him to swim; the swarming bees he's trapped threaten the neighborhood; he doesn't know how to drive, but borrows snooty Aunt Rudo's Mercedes (without permission) and wrecks it. Indeed, he doesn't fit in; and if the conclusion--he gets a job at a research center that values his knowledge of traditional medicine--is overly tidy, it's also a telling comment. Like Jerry Segal's The Place Where Nobody Stopped (1991), an exaggerated, splendidly comical tale enriched by profound undertones. Jackson makes a fine debut with lively full- page drawings reflecting both the humor and the subtler implications. Pronouncing glossary. (Fiction. 8-12)