Stories of the ordinary lives of children throughout a typical day in various countries of Africa make the point that Africa is a continent rather than a monolithic country. As the sun rises, Arim and Efrem get ready for the school day in Eritrea, which was once a part of Ethiopia, and now is the newest independent country in Africa. They listen to the radio while eating a warm breakfast and their morning is then contrasted with that of Mantoh, Tepe, Nkolo and Folla in Cameroon who must do chores such as selling milk and providing water and firewood for the family before walking to school. As the day progresses, the reader learns that just as the lives of the children are different in various cultures, so too is the environment in which they live. From the snowcovered mountains in Lesotho to the sandy desert in Mauritania, the children are pictured in attractive, colorful illustrations. The back of the book contains a listing of all the African countries and includes pertinent details such as population figures and some historical background. 2000, The Millbrook Press, Ages 6 to 10, $24.90. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-The authors narrate the experiences of children at play, at school, and at home, and use realistic illustrations to explore the cultural, environmental, ethnic, and social diversity of the 53 countries that make up the African continent. They explain that in Rwanda, refugee children (many of whom have been orphaned) are making pictures of war, while in Kenya, two children race to school, dreaming of one day becoming professional runners. From vast deserts with camels in the North to lush agricultural lands in Central and Southern Africa, the widely varied terrains are described in a paragraph or two of text. Unfortunately, there are no chapter or subtopic headings to indicate immediately what country is being discussed, and there is no indication of where it is located on the continent, so it's difficult to find it on the map. While the art is lively and colorful, and the book concludes with an alphabetical listing of the countries and facts about them, this offering does have its drawbacks.-Daniel Mungai, Queens Borough Public Library, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.