Fatuma's New Cloth

Fatuma's New Cloth

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by Leslie Bulion, Nicole Tadgell, Nicole Tadgell
     
 

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Little Fatuma and her mother are walking to market in contemporary East Africa, talking about the kanga cloth they will buy. Fatuma wants to wear her new kanga wrapped around her, grownup-fashion, but mother explains that Fatuma is too young, and must wear it sewn as a dress. As they walk, mother and daughter happily discuss learning to read, "helping," and the chai

Overview

Little Fatuma and her mother are walking to market in contemporary East Africa, talking about the kanga cloth they will buy. Fatuma wants to wear her new kanga wrapped around her, grownup-fashion, but mother explains that Fatuma is too young, and must wear it sewn as a dress. As they walk, mother and daughter happily discuss learning to read, "helping," and the chai (tea) they will drink later while sewing the dress.

They arrive at the market and meet vendor after colorful vendor. Fatuma speaks with the milk lady, the spice merchant, and the pots-and-pans man. She is confused as each hawks his or her product as the essential ingredient for delicious-looking chai. Arriving finally at the cloth merchant's stall, Fatuma picks out a lovely kanga with the printed saying "Don't be fooled by the color. The good flavor of chai comes from the sugar." Fatuma asks her mother the meaning of the traditional East African proverb and her mother explains: virtue is not apparent on the outside.

Mother then applies the lesson, asking if Fatuma's virtues of industry and intelligent curiosity can be seen. As she wraps the huge bolt of kanga over Fatuma, her daughter answers, "Oh, Mama! You can't see those things at all. What is good about me is on the inside, too."

Fatuma's New Cloth teaches an important lesson--the East African equivalent of "You can't judge a book by its cover"--in a natural, narrative form. The illustrations accurately depict elements of contemporary African culture, including details of the market, the kanga fabric, and other elements of dress and society. Perhaps most significantly, it is an African story that is not about racial issues

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tender...luminescent...glorious.
Midwest Book Review
Energetic and highly recommended.
Library Talk
A wonderful introduction to a study on Africa. Young children will love the story.
Christian Science Monitor
Bright and beautiful.... A device for sending a positive message and for giving readers a vivid picture of contemporary East African culture.
Bookviews
A delightful introduction to another culture.
Jackson Advocate
Beautifully illustrated in soft-hued yet detailed water colors, the book accurately depicts village life in contemporary East Africa.
Blackberry Express
Great....Engaging.
Tea--a Magazine
This book is a charmer.
WordWeaving
Fabulous lessons! Very highly recommended.
Children's Literature
Fatuma likes to go to market with her mother but today's visit is even more special. Together they will choose new cloth for Fatuma's kanga, the traditional cloth worn in East Africa. Fatuma wants a kanga "the color of the deep sea and the early morning sky." Before they find the fabric, Fatuma and her mother meet merchants who sell tea, pots, and milk for chai. Fatuma learns that a person's real talents, like chai's sweetness, come from the inside: chai's from unseen sugar; a person's gifts cannot be hidden by a kanga. An author's note provides a bit of information about kanga cloth and chai (the Swahili word for tea), as is a recipe for chai. Handsome, expressive watercolors extend and sometimes clarify the longish text. Fatuma is often poetic, particularly when describing the colors of the kanga cloth. Altogether, this predictable, pleasant story introduces an interesting aspect of East African tradition and culture. 2002, Moon Mountain Publishing,
— Maria Salvadore
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Fatuma is excited about helping her mother with the marketing in her East African village because she has been promised a kanga cloth of her own and a treat of chai, or tea, afterward. Various merchants offer opinions on the secret of perfect chai: a dark and strong color from the leaves, a light color from creamy milk, or a shiny new saucepan to boil it in. At the cloth shop, the girl chooses a kanga that is "the color of the morning sky meeting the waves of the sea." Each kanga pattern contains a Swahili saying, and Fatuma's reads, "Don't be fooled by the color. The good flavor of chai comes from the sugar," which can't be seen. Her mother uses Tuma as an analogy and the child exclaims, "What is good about me is on the inside, too!" While the message is sweet, the watercolor illustrations are somewhat blurry and washed out, and the story drifts along at a dreamy pace.-Anna DeWind Walls, Milwaukee Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780967792972
Publisher:
Moon Mountain Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
02/01/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

What People are saying about this

Richard Posner
The luminous paintings shimmer with African heat, and the wide-eyed Fatuma charms us into heeding the story's lesson.
— Richard Posner, author of, Sparrow's Flight

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Fatuma's New Cloth 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The extraordinary beauty of the cover painting in this wonderful book is equaled only by the quality of the soft lyrical prose telling the tale within. This is a book for children (and adults) of all ages, gender, and race that tells a classic tale in a fresh and exquisitely beautiful way. Parents, grandparents, teachers, and all people who love children will want to have and share this book.