My Rows and Piles of Coins

My Rows and Piles of Coins

by E. B. Lewis, Tololwa M. Mollel
     
 

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"I emptied my secret money box, arranged the coins in piles and the piles in rows . . ." The market is full of wonderful things, but Saruni is saving his precious coins for a red and blue bicycle. How happy he will be when he can help his mother carry heavy loads to market on his very own bicycle—and how disappointed he is to discover that he hasn't saved

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Overview

"I emptied my secret money box, arranged the coins in piles and the piles in rows . . ." The market is full of wonderful things, but Saruni is saving his precious coins for a red and blue bicycle. How happy he will be when he can help his mother carry heavy loads to market on his very own bicycle—and how disappointed he is to discover that he hasn't saved nearly enough! Determination and generosity are at the heart of this satisfying tale, set in Tanzania and illustrated with glowing watercolors that capture the warmth of Saruni's family and the excitement of market day.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Mollel (Song Bird, p. 226, etc.) sets this tale of a thrifty Maasai child who reaps an unexpected reward in the Tanzania of his childhood. Young Saruni saves his coins for a long time, hoping to buy a bicycle so that he can help his mother carry more goods to market, only to discover that new bicycles are far more expensive than he thought. Along with Saruni, readers or onlookers can count the neatly stacked piles of coins as they grow, and in the meantime enjoy Lewis's realistically rendered landscapes and dusty market scenes. In the end, Saruni's father teasingly sells' him the old family bicycle, then hands the money back; characteristically, a happy Saruni immediately begins thinking of buying a cart to tow behind the bike. The characters shine in this well and simply told tale, with its neatly, but not too deeply, buried lesson.
Kirkus Reviews

Mollel draws on his own Tanzanian childhood for this story of a boy, Saruni, who works hard, saves all his coins for months and months, and dreams of buying a bicycle—only to discover that he does not have nearly enough money. Many children will relate to what it's like to save, plan, and count towards a dream ("I emptied the box, arranged the coins in piles and the piles in rows. Then I counted the coins and thought about the bicycle I longed to buy"). As in his stunning watercolors for Echewa's The Magic Tree: A Folktale from Nigeria , Lewis' paintings root the story in the particulars of the contemporary village and landscape. Through the child's eyes, the scenes move from the busy market, where Saruni helps his mother, to his home among the coffee trees, and to pictures of him wobbling and falling as he learns to ride his father's bicycle every day after school.... The pictures quietly express (the boy's) bond with his mother in work and in love.
Booklist, ALA

"A warm family story contains several universal childhood experiences: the pride in persevering and gaining a new skill and in making an unselfish contribution to the family. . . . the fluid, light-splashed watercolor illustrations lend a sense of place and authenticity. Watching Saruni's savings mount visu-ally is a nice touch. . . . Deft and effective." School Library Journal, Starred

"In an ending that makes this selfless hero an inspiration to readers, Saruni contemplates using his savings to buy a cart to pull behind his bike, to further lighten the loads his mother must carry. Lewis's engaging and lifelike paintings convincingly portray a range of images and emotions, including the verdant Tanzanian landscape and bustling marketplace, and, most affectingly, the strong bond between this boy and his loving parents." Publishers Weekly, Starred

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The creators of Big Boy place this story of a resourceful and thoughtful boy in the 1960s Tanzania of Mollel's childhood. Saruni receives coins from his mother for helping her to cart goods to town each market day. His goal is to save enough money to buy a bicycle to transport these loads more efficiently and to run other errands for his parents. While his savings accumulate in his "secret money box," the child determinedly practices on his father's bike, first learning to ride without falling and then to balance a load of vegetables on the bike. One day Saruni feels he has collected enough money to buy a new bike, but his hopes are dashed by the scornful laughter of the bicycle vendor. Luckily, the boy's father announces that it is just the right amount of money to purchase his bicycle (and then returns the money to his son). In an ending that makes this selfless hero an inspiration to readers, Saruni contemplates using his savings to buy a cart to pull behind his bike, to further lighten the loads his mother must carry. Lewis's engaging and lifelike paintings convincingly portray a range of images and emotions, including the verdant Tanzanian landscape and bustling marketplace, and, most affectingly, the strong bond between this boy and his loving parents. Ages 5-8. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-A warm family story set in Tanzania in the 1960s. Saruni is a picture of determination as he learns to ride his father's big bicycle and saves his small earnings to buy one of his own in order to help his mother deliver her goods to market. After months of work, he takes his coins to the bicycle seller, who adds them up and responds with humiliating laughter. However, Saruni is rewarded when his father buys a motorbike and "sells" his old bicycle to his son. In the end, Saruni's parents refuse his payment, preferring to give him the bike as a reward for his help. At story's end, he is again saving his coins-this time to buy a cart to pull behind his bicycle and further lighten his mother's load. The first-person story contains several universal childhood experiences: the pride in persevering and gaining a new skill and in making an unselfish contribution to the family. Since the narrative focus is on the boy's own goals, the story is natural and never excessively moralistic. The fluid, light-splashed watercolor illustrations lend a sense of place and authenticity. Watching Saruni's savings mount visually is a nice touch. A short glossary gives the meaning and pronunciation of frequently used words. Deft and effective.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Mollel (Song Bird, p. 226, etc.) sets this tale of a thrifty Maasai child who reaps an unexpected reward in the Tanzania of his childhood. Young Saruni saves his coins for a long time, hoping to buy a bicycle so that he can help his mother carry more goods to market, only to discover that new bicycles are far more expensive than he thought. Along with Saruni, readers or onlookers can count the neatly stacked piles of coins as they grow, and in the meantime enjoy Lewis's realistically rendered landscapes and dusty market scenes. In the end, Saruni's father teasingly "sells" him the old family bicycle, then hands the money back; characteristically, a happy Saruni immediately begins thinking of buying a cart to tow behind the bike. The characters shine in this well and simply told tale, with its neatly, but not too deeply, buried lesson. (Picture book. 7-9)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395751862
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
369,180
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
AD700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

E.B. Lewis's watercolor paintings appear in BIG BOY and many other picture books. The recipient of a Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration, he lives in Folsom, New Jersey.

Tololwa M. Mollel, an Arusha Maasai from Tanzania, grew up on his grandfather's coffee farm, an hour's drive from Mount Kilimanjaro. After receiving his B.A. in Literature and Theatre at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Mr. Mollel went to Canada in 1966 to complete his master's degree at the University of Alberta. In the late 1970s he returned to Tanzania where he was Senior Lecturer and Head of the Theatre Department at the University of Dar es Salaam. At that time he was also co-director of a children's theatre and arts group. Mr. Mollel has written many books for Clarion. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota..

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