BURY MY BONES BUT KEEP MY WORDS by Tony Fairman

BURY MY BONES BUT KEEP MY WORDS

African Tales for Retelling
edited by & illustrated by
Age Range: 10 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Fourteen folktales from several regions of Africa, either collected by the author or adapted from hard-to-find printed sources. Fairman's deliciously lively writing belies his prefatory lament that ``a tale in a book is like a drum in a museum; it's silent, it's dead....'' Each story here is framed as a conversation between the storyteller--generally an older relative--and a thoroughly involved audience; side comments, rhetorical questions and invitations to join in on songs (often to a familiar melody like ``Jingle Bells'') or on sound effects make reading these almost as much a participatory experience as hearing them. From ancient Egypt comes the story of ``Zazamankh,'' whose difficult task is relieving Pharaoh's boredom; ``Omutugwa'' is a Kenyan Cinderella; in the pointed ``Hare and the White Man,'' a swindled human can't finger the culprit because all hares look alike to him. The stories feature a vigorous mixture of wisdom and foolishness, chills and hilarity, plus plenty of incidental information about village life in different areas. Brief source notes; occasional muted b&w illustrations. Fresh, funny, and almost audible. (Folklore. 10+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8050-2333-X
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1992