Roosters crow, and you wake one morning in the green hills of
Africa, sun lemon bright over eucalyptus trees full of doves.
His chore for the day is to take his grandfather’s cows to the pasture and watch them. He has good intentions but like any child he gets distracted by all the interesting things and friendly people in his village. He travels from adventure to adventure, calling out a cheery “Hodi? Anybody home?” and hearing “Karibu! Welcome!” in return. At last he remembers the cows and rushes back to find them gone. On the path home he sees grandfather with the cows, doing what he should be doing. He hangs his head in shame but grandfather simply says “Twende nyumbani sasa - let’s go home”. Once home he is greeted with open arms, receives his supper and curls up in his hut to sleep. I absolutely love the illustrations with their warm colors, vibrant movement and big-eyed adorable children. I love the a scattering of Swahili words and phrases, and am glad there is a brief glossary with pronunciation notes in the opening page to assist me with reading it out loud. The author has such a wise and loving understanding of this boy’s spirit of joy and curiosity I can’t help wishing I could visit with him a while and learn his games and songs.
I wanted to nominate this book as best picture book of 2006 at the Cybils, but someone else beat me to it. It really is a gem and it is on my Christmas wish list.Technorati Tags: african, picture book, preschool, primary grades, kidlit