Gugu's House

Gugu's House

by Catherine Stock
     
 

Kukamba loves to visit her grandmother, Gugu. Though the village where Gugu lives is dry and dusty, her house is big and sprawling and unlike any other. The courtyard and walls are decorated with beautiful paintings and clay animals, all made by Gugu herself. Best of all, when Kukamba visits, she gets to help shape and paint some of the wonderful zebras, elephants

Overview


Kukamba loves to visit her grandmother, Gugu. Though the village where Gugu lives is dry and dusty, her house is big and sprawling and unlike any other. The courtyard and walls are decorated with beautiful paintings and clay animals, all made by Gugu herself. Best of all, when Kukamba visits, she gets to help shape and paint some of the wonderful zebras, elephants, and birds that Gugu is always adding to the house. When the heavy rains come and her grandmother's showpieces are destroyed, Kukamba is crushed. But the Gugu helps her see that an ending can also be a beginning, and art is not the only beauty the world has to offer. Set in the grassy plains of Zimbabwe and gracefully illustrated in watercolors, GUGU'S HOUSE is a unique tribute to the spirit of creativity and the immutable cycles of nature.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A warm, intergenerational story set in Zimbabwe. School Library Journal

Stock's watercolors capture not only the bright hues of landscape and traditional dress, but also a clear sense of Gugu's deep serenity and the shared purpose that sends her and Kukamba striding back from their walk to restore the house to its former glory. . . . The warm emotions and the setting will remind children of Maya Angelou's My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me.
Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

null Children's Books: 100 Titles NYPL

Children's Literature
The author of this book uses her colorful imagination as well as her personal experiences as the basis for the plot and illustrations in this book. A curious little girl named Kukamba, who is the narrator and a main character, learns an intriguing lesson about the importance of art in the community from her grandmother, Gugu. Gugu's bright personality develops through her creation of art in everything that surrounds her. Stock based her character on the story of a woman who shares this same love of artwork with Gugu. Gugu instills this same value and appreciation in her granddaughter, who also possesses a vivid imagination. On a rainy day, Kukamba emerges to find that the water washes the beautiful masterpieces away. Gugu, who is also the town's inspirational storyteller, quickly reminds Kukamba that there are amazing and wonderful things to see in all of the nature that surrounds her. She takes the young girl to view the bright colors and wildlife that come with the rain. Kukamba is enlightened and immediately returns to create new masterpieces with her prime motivator, Gugu. Stock wrote the text in a happy and upbeat fashion that compliments the mood of the characters. Stock's vibrant illustrations of Gugu and Kukamba's artwork as well as those of the lush vegetation coincide with the liveliness of the story. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy reading and learning from this entertaining book. 2001, Clarion Books, Ages 4 to 8.
—Amy Lister
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-A warm, intergenerational story set in Zimbabwe. Kukamba travels from her home in the city to visit her grandmother in her village. Gugu has painted her compound with vivid colors and patterns, and has sculpted many animals including a larger-than-life zebra. She is an artist and she shares her secrets of mixing the colors for paint; there is red in the riverbed clay, white in the ash from the fire, and green in cattle dung. Kukamba discovers that she, too, has an artistic flair and the two create beautiful paintings together. Gugu's house is a gathering place for the villagers, and since the area has been experiencing a long drought, her stories add a welcome dose of humor to their somber moods. The rains finally come and the village is overjoyed. Kukamba is upset because the paintings and sculptures have all washed away, but Gugu shows her that nature has emerged with her own colors after the rain. The mood of the text is perfectly mirrored in the watercolor illustrations. The concern and despair over the drought give way to the sheer joy in the rains and the burst of color at the end. This will be a wonderful read-aloud, particularly when paired with Ifeoma Onyefulu's Grandfather's Work (Millbrook, 1998), or useful as a literature tie-in to a lesson on Africa.-Genevieve Ceraldi, New York Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618003891
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
01/22/2001
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author


Catherine Stock, known for her sensitive paintings, has illustrated many books for children, including several for Clarion. She divides her time between Rignac, France, and New York City.

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