Pride of African Tales

Overview

This treasure trove of lavishly illustrated stories comes from different regions in Africa. In "Anansi," an uproarious story from Ghana, the tables are turned on lazy Anansi. "The Boy Who Wanted the Moon," set in the Congo, explains why there are monkeys in the world. "Shansa Mutongo Shima," a thrilling story of the Tabura people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reveals the dangers of judging by appearances. In "The Roof of Leaves," from the Congo, a married couple learns a lesson about anger and ...

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Overview

This treasure trove of lavishly illustrated stories comes from different regions in Africa. In "Anansi," an uproarious story from Ghana, the tables are turned on lazy Anansi. "The Boy Who Wanted the Moon," set in the Congo, explains why there are monkeys in the world. "Shansa Mutongo Shima," a thrilling story of the Tabura people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reveals the dangers of judging by appearances. In "The Roof of Leaves," from the Congo, a married couple learns a lesson about anger and forgiveness. "The Wedding Basket," set in Nigeria, is a cautionary tale about taboos. In "The Talking Skull," from Cameroon, a foolish man learns too late the wisdom of keeping his mouth shut.

Each tale reflects the rhythms and cadences of the storyteller's muse. For her research, Donna Washington consulted as many written and oral sources as she could find. And award-winning artist James Ransome's stunning water-color paintings illuminate the diversity of the African people, clothing, architecture, landscape, and wildlife. Readers will discover that despite the variety, these stories about human foibles hold universal truths for everyone, everywhere.

A collection of African folktales originating in the storytelling tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Professional storyteller Donna L. Washington brings to life six traditional stories from several African nations in A Pride of African Tales, illus. by James Ransome, including Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Congo. She includes a strong range of selections, from a well-known trickster tale of Anansi (about a greedy young prince who desires to possess the moon and a talking skull, and which teaches a lesson on keeping one's mouth shut) to a lesser-known "taboo story" called "The Wedding Basket," a graceful story of a rich man who does not respect his wife's wishes and loses her. Ransome's lush watercolor paintings make the African settings seem palpable. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The introduction to this delightful collection of African folktales invites readers and listeners to take a journey to a variety of wondrous regions in Africa. Each beautifully illustrated tale reveals universal truths that easily transcend all cultural and geographic boundaries. For instance, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the setting for "The Roof of Leaves," a story of a married couple who learn about anger and forgiveness. "Anansi's Fishing Expedition" tells about a trickster from Ghana who is always trying to get something for nothing and ends up being the loser. "The Talking Skull" reveals the foolishness of a man from Cameroon who has not learned the importance of listening and thinking before opening his mouth. And the Tabura people of the Congo discover the dangers of judging a person by outward appearances. Donna Washington admits some stories begged to be conveyed with the contributions of body language, facial expressions and voice. Putting these to paper for the reader to successfully translate is a difficult task. Nevertheless, she accomplishes the goal by combining her considerable skills with those of illustrator James Ransome. The result is a book of caution, advice and visual enjoyment for all. Storytellers in particular will find it a rich source for bridging short attentions spans of young audiences with Washington's use of appropriate voices reflecting regional culture and language. Source notes and suggestions for related stories enhance this pleasurable and educational experience. 2004, Harper Collins, Ages 6 to 10.
—Francine Thomas
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-Like a group of lions, these six stories are majestic. "Anansi's Fishing Expedition" (Ghana), "The Roof of Leaves" (the Congo), "The Wedding Basket" (Nigeria), and "The Talking Skull" (Cameroon) are among the tales included. Each one begins with a short note of explanation and is identified as a pourquoi, trickster, or cautionary tale. A map of Africa pinpoints the countries of origin and brief source notes are appended. The morals are not lost, but the writing is not heavy-handed. The smooth retellings are paired with extraordinarily lush watercolors. Most of the paintings are single page but there are several dramatic spreads that capture the eye. Taking a cue from African textiles, Ransome uses distinctive borders that mirror elements from the text-a cloth pattern, a leafy fern, a cheetah's spots. These selections can be read alone but they beg to be shared aloud. The phrasing and cadences invite pauses and should encourage successful retelling-good for librarians and those who coach children in storytelling contests. A handsome package.-Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060249328
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/23/2003
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Donna L. Washington is a professional storyteller, multiple-award-winning recording artist, and author. She performs all over the country at festivals, schools, and libraries and gives workshops for parents and educators as well. Her many storytelling recordings have received Gold and Silver Parents' Choice Awards, Storytelling World Awards, iParenting Awards, Children's Music Web Awards, National Parenting Publications Awards Honors, and many more. Ms. Washington lives with her husband, two children, and two cats in Durham, North Carolina.

James Ransome's work has appeared in nearly fifty books for children, including the Coretta Scott King Award Book The Creation by James Weldon Johnson and Satchel Paige and Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist, both written by his wife, Lesa Cline-Ransome. His traveling exhibit "Visual Stories" is featured in libraries and museums throughout the country. He lives in Rhinebeck, New York, with his family.

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