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A LITTLE SALMON FOR WITNESS by Vashanti Rahaman

A LITTLE SALMON FOR WITNESS

By Vashanti Rahaman (Author) , Sandra Speidel (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-67521-3
Publisher: Dutton

 Aaji, Rajiv's grandmother, fondly recalls having a piece of salmon ``for witness'' on Good Friday. Times in Trinidad are harder now, and Aaji has no hope of tasting salmon again. Rajiv sets out to find at least a tin of salmon as a special gift for her, because it is also her birthday. He asks everyone he can think of to allow him to work in exchange for salmon, but no one can help. He finally goes to the home of his teacher and trades an afternoon of weeding for his prize. Rahaman (O Christmas Tree, 1996, etc.) makes central to Rajiv's tale a simplicity of existence, respect for elders, and the notion that hard work has its rewards, in striking contrast to the life most US readers know. Unfortunately, the longwinded narrative is often overwhelmed with detailed descriptions of foods and customs that turn the tale into a social studies lesson, and an uplifting ending can't entirely redeem the rambling plot. The quietly understated pastel illustrations match the tone of the story, employing savory melons, pinks, and golds as warm backgrounds, rather than panoramic scenes of Trinidad. Using a tight focus of faces, the illustrator highlights Rajiv, a compelling character lost within his own story. (Picture book. 6-8)