Bouki Dances the Kokioko: A Tale from Haiti

Bouki Dances the Kokioko: A Tale from Haiti

by Diane Wolkstein, Jesse Sweetwater

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Illustrated with vibrant color and rollicking imagery, this is a richly funny trickster tale. It tells of a king who loved to dance; a contest seemingly impossible to win; a tricky gardener with the clever name of Malice (Mah-LEES); an amiable fall guy whose name has crept into the language; and a dance, the Kokioko, for those with clapping hands and swaying hips. The characters are larger than life, their traits exaggerated in a convincing storyteller's voice. A glossary includes unfamiliar words, and an introduction offers story notes. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4--Bouki has found new life in this illustrated edition of a tale from Wolkstein's The Magic Orange Tree and Other Haitian Folktales (Schocken, 1987). Readers familiar with the gullible Bouki and his malicious and tireless nemesis Malice will listen carefully to learn how Bouki will be duped out of the money he wins by dancing the difficult Kokioko for the king. Sweetwater has captured the dazzling color and the flavor of this tropical island and its people. The illustrations of liquid acrylics, watercolor, and gouache, many framed in four-color harlequin-pattern borders, are filled with comical asides. The artist is a talented colorist and interpreter. However, some of her drawings are reminiscent of the stereotypical caricatures of peoples of African descent that make some adults cringe. These illustrations will create some of the same problems as Helen Bannerman's Little Black Sambo. The depiction of characters with very full, bright red lips; black skin; and white eyes is not natural. Understanding and enjoying this subtle trickster tale requires careful listening; therefore, reading or telling it, using Wolkstein's collection, will be a more worthwhile experience.--Marie Wright, University Library, Indianapolis, IN
Kirkus Reviews
An amusing tale of trickery from Wolkstein's The Magic Orange Tree (1978). A king loves to watch dancers but doesn't want to pay them and so announces a contest with a prize of 5,000 gourdes to the one who can perform the Kokioko, a dance he has created in private. When the greedy trickster Malice spies on the king and learns the dance, he laboriously schools Bouki in the steps; Bouki knows better than to trust Malice but is drawn into the deception because he has "many little Boukis to feed." Bouki wins the gourdes, but flushed with victory, he allows Malice to lead him in another dance during which Madame Malice sneaks off with the winnings. Swirling through the books are Sweetwater's vibrant, folkloric illustrations, one of which whimsically sets two of those many little Boukis in a pair of their father's oversized shorts.

Product Details

Harcourt Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
9.27(w) x 11.22(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews