Name of the Tree: A Bantu Folktale

Overview


When a drought spreads through the land of the short grass, the animals set out across the great plain to find food. Their only hope for survival is a tree with a variety of colorful fruit. The problem is its branches are too high. To reach them, the wise old turtle says, one must know the name of the tree, something only King Lion is privy to. In this Bantu folktale retold by Celia Barker Lottridge, the hero is not the most cunning or the strongest but the one that tries the hardest. Ian Wallace’s striking ...
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Overview


When a drought spreads through the land of the short grass, the animals set out across the great plain to find food. Their only hope for survival is a tree with a variety of colorful fruit. The problem is its branches are too high. To reach them, the wise old turtle says, one must know the name of the tree, something only King Lion is privy to. In this Bantu folktale retold by Celia Barker Lottridge, the hero is not the most cunning or the strongest but the one that tries the hardest. Ian Wallace’s striking illustrations of desert landscape and luscious fruit help bring this tale to life.

When the other animals fail at the task, the slow but wise turtle finds a way to obtain the bountiful fruits of a magic tree.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-- Somewhere on an African plain, a great drought settles on the land. The animals search for food and discover a solitary tree, leaden with every fruit imaginable, and are tantalized by the unreachable find that `` smelled like all the fruits of the world. ' ' So begins this Bantu folktale set on an arid flatland. Told with a distant, almost biblical voice, the story explains that the animals must learn the name of the tree before it will surrender its bounty. Just when it seems that the name of the tree will be lost, the animal least likely to be the hero saves the day. Instead of the lush, primary colors typical of many illustrations in African tales, Wallace masterfully utilizes muted pinks, grays, and greens that bring to life the cracked, dry land that threatens the animals' very existence. Some of the illustrations are so subdued that they seem to fade off the page, as if bleached by the scorching African sun. The effect is a perfect bone-dry backdrop for this tale. The steady cadence of the text makes the story a worthy addition to the storytelling shelf, and young readers should also find it satisfying reading. --Denia Lewis Hester, Dewey School, Evanston, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888990976
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 506,031
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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