Tamba and the Chief: A Temne Tale

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School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Together, these African tales offer a diverse sampling of tale types, motifs, cultures, and languages. Kwian comes from the San Bushmen of South Africa and tells of a time when the sun lived in the left armpit of lazy Kattenttu and the moon was on the shoe of a praying mantis until a clever girl figured out how to get them both up in the sky where they belong. Tamba is a tale from the Temne of Sierra Leone and relates how a poor but kind young man wins the hand of a princess by completing three impossible tasks. In Warrior, a story from the Masai people of East Africa, a wise caterpillar outwits a lazy rabbit who tricks him out of his house, along with other animals who try to help the rabbit. Each book includes a source note and begins with a quote, proverb, or riddle in the native language and in English. The stories retain the flavor of their cultures by including words from the original language and glossaries. The illustrations are bright, colorful, semi-abstract cartoons. Close examination finds different shaped houses and different patterns and drapes of clothing and personal decoration in the three books, but the human faces are almost identical and the landscapes are too abstract to compare land forms or vegetation of the different settings. Additional purchases as read-alouds or to supplement curricula on the countries and cultures of Africa.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
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