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Jamari's Drum

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Little Jamari loves the sound of the great village drum and often sits at drummer Baba's feet. "Why do you play every day?" he asks. "The drum is the keeper of peace in the village," Baba replies. Time passes and many of the village elders pass on. One day Jamari agrees to take over the beating of the drum, to keep the peace. But little by little, he forgets his promise until disaster looms. What will Jamari do to bring back peace? Featuring acclaimed artist Baba Diakité's gorgeous illustrations, Jamari's Drum ...
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Overview


Little Jamari loves the sound of the great village drum and often sits at drummer Baba's feet. "Why do you play every day?" he asks. "The drum is the keeper of peace in the village," Baba replies. Time passes and many of the village elders pass on. One day Jamari agrees to take over the beating of the drum, to keep the peace. But little by little, he forgets his promise until disaster looms. What will Jamari do to bring back peace? Featuring acclaimed artist Baba Diakité's gorgeous illustrations, Jamari's Drum offers a simple, compelling lesson about duty and the greater good.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The drumming of the djembe is a way of life in Jamari's village; every day, since Jamari and everyone in the village can remember, its beat has shaken the ground beneath their feet: "BEDE BADA BOOM KABEDE, BEDE BADA BOOM KABEDE, BEDE BADA BOOM KABEDE." Although Jamari enjoys the drumming for its music, he suspects that it might be a tired tradition, but Baba Mdogo, the village drummer, warns Jamari that it is the beating of the drum that maintains their peaceful way of life. Without it, he warns, "the sky would turn black and the ground would grow hot and begin to melt beneath our feet." When Jamari becomes a man, the task of the village drumming is passed on to him, but, as the old traditions are pushed aside for new ways of living, Jamari forgets about the drum and its important place in village life. It is not until Baba Mdogo's words come true that Jamari realizes the importance of the drum and finds the courage to restore its faithful beat to the village. Accompanied by rich, culturally-appropriate illustrations reproduced from painted ceramic tiles, this contemporary fable is presented in the strong language of the oral storytelling tradition. Although more specific indications of place and culture within Africa are not identified, this multicultural picture book is an excellent general introduction to African culture, art forms, and tradition. 2004, Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre, Ages 5 to 12.
—Meredith Ackroyd
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Done primarily in earth tones, Diakit 's characteristic paintings on glazed tiles bring the African village setting to life. Young Jamari lives at the base of a mountain, Chafua. He often sits in the village square, listening to Baba Mdogo play the great djembe. The man tells him that the drum is "the keeper of peace," warning of the dire consequences should he not play it. Years later, Baba selects Jamari as his successor, saying: "You must beat this drum for Chafua everyday.- The village depends on it." Not understanding the full scope of his responsibility, Jamari nonetheless accepts the instrument. Time passes, and new ways replace the old ones. Jamari marries and has children, and eventually stops playing the drum. Then Chafua erupts, and he suddenly remembers Baba's warning. He retrieves the djembe and begins beating it furiously. Miraculously, the lava flow reverses itself, and he never again forgets his duty. The beautifully executed, folk-style artwork swirls with bold lines and bright patterns, incorporating backgrounds that blend earth tones with the blues and purples of the sky. Although a glossary of Swahili words is appended, pronunciation guidelines are given only for "djembe," which is unfortunate because this book makes an excellent read-aloud. Pair it with other stories about drums and the messages that they can send, such as Romare Bearden's Li'l Dan, the Drummer Boy: A Civil War Story (S & S, 2003) and J. Alison James's The Drums of Noto Hanto (DK, 1999; o.p.).-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An elder's warning that the great djembe drum must be beaten every day or "the sky would turn black and the ground would grow hot and begin to melt under our feet," turns out to be exactly prophetic in this original tale, co-written by a professional drummer and illustrated with small but striking ceramic tile paintings. Young Jamari inherits the village's drum, but what with the distractions of daily life, soon puts it away-until the eruption of a nearby volcano recalls him to his duty; rather than join the general panic, he sits down to rap out "BEDE BADA BOOM KABEDE / BEDE BADA BOOM KABEDE / BEDE BADA BOOM KABEDE," and, miraculously, the volcano quiets. There's a whiff of magic here that hints at a lesson or metaphor, but it's the drum's beat, the catastrophe narrowly averted, and the strongly drawn African scenes, done in warm browns and golds, that will stay with younger readers. (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888995315
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 11/15/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.58 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2010

    A great addition to my library

    This is a terrific book for every library of every person. It's a great resource for librarians and music teachers because you can use it as an interactive lesson by recreating the drum sounds from the book on drums and percussion. My kids love it the best!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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