Children's LiteratureFatima, the heroine, lives in Sudan and she remembers the day a shinning pump was attached to the village well. In a series of sensory details, Fatima pulls down the pump's "long handle, so hard and smooth," and "a soft creaking noise fills the silence" to release a stream of clear water and celebration marked by cheering and beating drums. But as people push forward, Fatima pushes "outward to find my grandmother." Fatima's grandmother mourns the passing of a way of life when the baobab stored water. Out of respect and love, Fatima follows her grandmother's traditions and when the pump breaks, villagers who have jeered, respect the older woman. The tenderness of the intergenerational relationship, the strength of characters and how the author achieved story success are all elements worth discussing with children. 2000, Orchard, . Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Susie Wilde
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 2-4-A delightful story about keeping old traditions while accepting those that are new. The people of a Sudanese village are excited about a shiny new water pump. Never again will they have to use old methods for getting water-or so they think. Fatima's grandmother, however, remembers how people relied on storing water in the baobab trees in the past, and she is determined to prepare her tree before the rains come, despite the ridicule of her neighbors. Then, one day, the pump breaks and the villagers appreciate the old woman's caution. The well-written story generates a warm feeling as Fatima's grandmother speaks of the olden days and her granddaughter is able to learn and appreciate the ways of her elders. The impressionistic oil paintings are vivid and detailed, greatly enhancing the story. A wonderful book to bring generations together or to learn about different cultures.-Tammy K. Baggett, Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library, GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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