Konte Chameleon Fine, Fine, Fine!: A West African Folk Tale

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Karen Saxe
Lush and vivid illustrations accompany this story about Konte's discovery that changing colors comes "naturally" to him and that he is not in fact sick, sick, sick as he first thinks!
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2This slight tale from West Africa explains the changing colors of the chameleon. Konte Chameleon is worried that he is unwell when he notices that he has turned bright red. He goes to see Dr. Jalloh, a rabbit, who finds him healthy even though Konte insists he must be "sick, sick, sick." When he understands the fine secret of his changing colors, he decides it will be a good defense against enemies. Kessler uses very simple language and repetition to give the text a lyrical quality. Epanya's bold, primitive acrylic paintings are eye-catching. While not an outstanding folktale, in the hands of a skilled reader, hapless Konte's troubles will amuse story groups.Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Kessler (All the King's Animals, 1995, etc.) records a story told to her by a friend in Niger, whose grandfather told it to him, a testament to the endurance of the oral tradition. Konte Chameleon, atop a wild red orchid, is surprised when a glance over his shoulder shows that his body has turned "as red as the setting sun." He seeks the advice of Dr. Jalloh, a wise rabbit who spends most of the tale teaching the chameleon about his changing colors as he leaps from leaf to twig to rock. Then, in the flick of a snake's tongue, Konte uses his new knowledge to momentarily—anti-climactically—trick Khadi Python. The telling uses sound words throughout for emphasis, just as Verna Aardema does, a usually effective device for read-aloud sessions. But the storyline becomes cluttered with too many "Kurr-Kurr-Kurrs" and "Whuut-whuuts." The electrifying acrylic illustrations rise above this minor flaw, as Epanya's thick brush strokes layer background leaves, trees, and grasses with color and texture, and lend plenty of snap and sizzle to the saucer-eyed protagonist. The fine design includes African textiled borders, cleverly mirrored in the West African cloth hat and sack of Dr. Jalloh.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563971815
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Cristina is a freelance writer and photographer who has spent most of her adult life abroad. Her writing credits include a book, Lombok—Just Beyond Bali, and numerous features appearing in magazines. A 1972 graduate of San Luis Obispo State University, California, with a bachelor's in criminology, Cristina lists scuba diving, tennis, and Tai Chi among her favorite free-time activities.

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