In his southern African village, gentle, wise Chirobo tends his garden, tells stories to the children, and gives good advice to all who ask, despite being blind. One day Muteye, a young hunter, comes to talk and share his dinner. Chirobo asks to hunt with him. Muteye agrees, saying that whatever Chirobo catches in one of his traps will be his. But of course he thinks that a blind man cannot hunt. Still, as they walk through the trees, Chirobo warns of dangers that Muteye does not see, for Chirobo "sees" with his ears, nose, and skin. The next day, when he checks the traps, Muteye, jealous of Chirobo's superior catch, switches it with his own. Chirobo knows and shames him about it. Muteye asks for forgiveness. Chirobo tells him he must "see with his heart." This serious, moral tale is given a subdued naturalistic visual setting. Double-page scenes employ oil-based colored pencils for details of trees, animals, and human actors and watercolor washes for skies and landscapes, images of Africa. The two men are depicted sympathetically, so it is easy to accept the tale's ethical message. An introductory background note is included. 2003, Marshall Cavendish, Ages 5 to 9.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Chirobo lives a quiet life in an African village where he is respected for his storytelling and renowned for his wisdom. When a young hunter passes through, Chirobo asks if he can join him the next day. Muteye is hesitant to bring along an older, blind man but soon discovers that his companion is able to "see" with his other senses and that this ability helps them avoid a leopard, warthogs, and rhinos. When Muteye tries to trick Chirobo out of his catch, the older man teaches him to "see" with his heart and do the right thing. In an author's note, Rodanas explains that this original story was inspired by an African folktale, and the narrative's pacing, repetition, and moral conclusion attest to its origin. The lush, detailed illustrations, done in oil pastels and watercolor washes, show realistic landscapes and people. Framed by white borders, the richly colored pictures captivate the eye and would work well with groups. A thoughtful and satisfying book.-Tali Balas, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Rodanas bases this story of a blind hunter who "sees" better than his sighted companion on a tale from Zimbabwe. When wise Chirobo asks the young hunter Muteye to take him along into the bush, Muteye is skeptical-but it's old Chirobo who detects the dangerous leopard, warthogs, and rhinos in their path first. Nor is Chirobo fooled when, after seeing what their traps have caught, Muteye surreptitiously switches the thin quail in his for the fat duck in Chirobo's. Rodanas places her slender, brightly dressed Shona figures in wide South African landscapes, depicts wildlife in a naturalistic way, and creates a visual climax at the end by closing in on Chirobo's serene, wrinkled visage as he answers Muteye's shamed question about how one earns forgiveness for unkindness: "By learning to see with the heart." Library shelves are well-stocked with tales from West Africa; this one, equally suitable for contemplation or discussion, arises from a different, more southerly, tradition. (source note) (Picture book/folktale. 5-9)