The Magic Bojabi Tree

Overview

Python has wrapped himself around the melon/mango/pomegranate tree with its delicious fruit, and he won't share the fruit unless the animals can tell him the correct name of the tree. Elephant, Monkey and Zebra each in turn visit Lion, who alone knows the name of the tree. But every time, the animals forget the name on the journey back to the tree. Then Tortoise, the slowest, smallest animal goes to Lion - and sings a special song to remind him of the name. It is the Bojabi Tree! Python unwraps himself from the ...

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Overview

Python has wrapped himself around the melon/mango/pomegranate tree with its delicious fruit, and he won't share the fruit unless the animals can tell him the correct name of the tree. Elephant, Monkey and Zebra each in turn visit Lion, who alone knows the name of the tree. But every time, the animals forget the name on the journey back to the tree. Then Tortoise, the slowest, smallest animal goes to Lion - and sings a special song to remind him of the name. It is the Bojabi Tree! Python unwraps himself from the trunk, and all the animals share a feast.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/02/2013
Set long ago on a parched African plain, this folktale retelling follows five animals whose search for food leads them to a tree “covered in red, ripe fruit smelling of sweetest mangoes, fat as melons, juicy as pomegranates.” Unfortunately, “the largest python the animals had ever seen” is coiled around its trunk, and the snake won’t budge until the animals provide the correct name for the tree. Zebra sets off to get the answer from Lion, but forgets it on the return trip, as do Monkey and Elephant (for some reason, Giraffe doesn’t take a turn). Tortoise finally gets the job done, walking “carefully and slowly” on the way back and singing a mnemonic ditty (“Bojabi for you. Bojabi for me. What will bring down the fruit of the tree?”). Hofmeyr’s retelling bounds along with lively language and fun characterizations (especially the increasingly annoyed Lion), but it’s Grobler’s manic watercolors that truly provide the book’s energy. The vibrant red and green bojabi tree stands out like a beacon against the dusty African landscape, and his wily animal caricatures brim with personality. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Piet Grobler's Aesop's Fables:
"Vibrantly illustrated anthology setting the less familiar fables in Africa." — The New York Times
School Library Journal
12/01/2013
PreS-Gr 2—A retelling of an old African tale. During a famine, the animals are desperate for food and find a marvelous tree full of juicy fruit. However, a gigantic python has wrapped itself around the trunk and will not let them reach the fruit unless they can name the tree. Only Lion, King of the Jungle, knows its name, and Zebra sets off to ask him because he is the fastest. It is a long way to where Lion is napping, but Zebra finds him and gets his answer. On his way back, he gets distracted and forgets the tree's name. After several attempts by the other animals bring a similar result, an unlikely hero emerges. This is a wonderful story for telling; it may be familiar to some as "Uwungelema," and it is great to have a current version of it. Bright, detailed watercolor illustrations spill across the pages and capture the action and humor of the tale. A winner for most collections.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
In an animated retelling well-suited to reading aloud, this object lesson in the virtues of concentration features starving animals, a tree that must be named to give up its luscious fruit and a particularly bad-tempered lion. In a time of drought, one tree offers relief. Told by the giant python guarding fruit "smelling of sweetest mangoes, fat as melons, juicy as pomegranates" that the tree must be addressed by name, Zebra, Monkey and Elephant in turn set out to learn it from distant Lion. So self-congratulatory and distractible are all three, though, that by the time they return, they've forgotten it. This leaves small Tortoise to crawl slowly, slowly to Lion and then slowly, carefully back, chanting the tree's name over and over. Readers and listeners are invited to do the same, though considering the tongue-twisting names in other versions of this African tale, "Bojabi" won't be that much of a challenge. The story's narrative pattern is humorously highlighted by the increasingly choleric Lion's ever-louder responses to the animals' repeat visits. In eye-catching contrast to the wilted-looking sufferers in Grobler's fine-lined watercolors, both Python and Tortoise sport bright patterns. A lively alternative to the standard renditions, Celia Barker Lottridge's The Name of the Tree, illustrated by Ian Wallace (1989), and Joanna Troughton's Tortoise's Dream (1980). (Picture book/folk tale. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847802958
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 296,389
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Dianne Hofmeyr grew up on the tip of Southern Africa. An art teacher, she has written teenage novels and picture books, and has won the M-Net Award for fiction, as well as two IBBY Honor Books. Her other works include The Faraway Island, The Star Bearer and The Magic Bojabi Tree. She lives in the U.K.

Piet Grobler grew up on a farm in Limpopo, South Africa. After working as a church minister, he made a career in illustration and now lectures at the University of Worcester. He is the recipient of many international illustration awards, including the IBBY Honours List. His books for Frances Lincoln include The Great Tug of War and Aesop's Fables with Beverley Naidoo, and Fussy Freya with Katharine Quarmby. He lives with his wife and daughter in Great Malvern.

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