In the center of Adaora’s slice of paw-paw is a perfect star shape. She doesn’t want to spoil it, so she and her cousin Ugo set off to find a different piece of fruit. As they walk, the children see all kinds of shapes: Uncle Eze’s rectangular agbada, musicians playing circle-topped elephant drums, a crescent-shaped plantain, even plants with leaves in the shape of a heart. Ifeoma Onyefulu’s vibrant prose and vivid photographs are a charming introduction to both shapes and to Nigerian village life. Sidebars ...
In the center of Adaora’s slice of paw-paw is a perfect star shape. She doesn’t want to spoil it, so she and her cousin Ugo set off to find a different piece of fruit. As they walk, the children see all kinds of shapes: Uncle Eze’s rectangular agbada, musicians playing circle-topped elephant drums, a crescent-shaped plantain, even plants with leaves in the shape of a heart. Ifeoma Onyefulu’s vibrant prose and vivid photographs are a charming introduction to both shapes and to Nigerian village life. Sidebars provide further details about the fascinating objects illustrated.
Adaora is refusing to eat paw-paws, even though she likes them. When her cousin asks her why, she replies, "Because I don't want to ruin the pretty shape in the middle." She is referring to the star-shaped center of the fruit. In the ensuing conversation about shapes in general, Adaora is attracted by the word "triangle." Her cousin promises to find her a triangle, if Adaora, in return, will start eating paw-paw again. Thus the stage is set for a beautifully photographed tour of an African village, which captures residents going about their everyday business and introduces the reader to shapes and elements of African culture. Squares, rectangles, circles, ovals, hearts, diamonds, semicircles, rings and crescents abound, but the triangle proves elusive until it is finally encountered in the form of Adaora's Auntie Felicia's headdress. Additional information about some items—for example, the square colander called an apkasa or the rectangular robe called an agbada—is contained in enclosed boxes, so it does not interrupt the flow of the narrative. A tour of a child's own hometown in search of shapes would be a natural follow-up activity after reading this book. 2000, Dutton, . Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer: Barbara Maitland
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-A unique approach to learning about shapes. Full-color photographs and text tell the story of Ugo and his cousin Adaora, who set out to find a triangle in their small African village. Along the way, they also encounter squares, circles, ovals, diamonds, and more. As each shape is discussed, readers will also learn about life in this village. For example, it's noted that the drums (circles) are used to notify the people of important news and announcements and cowrie shells (ovals) were once used as money. Since not all of the examples offered are perfect geometric forms, this unusual title would best serve as supplementary material to accompany a unit on shapes or as an introduction to another culture.-Tammy K. Baggett, Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library, GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
When Adaora, a little girl of about five, declares that she will not eat paw-paw because to do so would ruin the pretty star-shape in the middle, her cousin Ugo takes her on a quest through their village to find a triangle. Only then, Adaora says, will she eat paw-paw again. The children see shapes aplenty in the objects around them—diamonds on a woman's wrapper, circles in the elephant drums, a rectangle formed by their uncle's outstretched arms in his agbada robe—but triangles prove to be elusive until at last they spot their aunt's triangular headdress. Onyefulu's (Chidi Only Likes Blue: An African Book of Colors, not reviewed, etc.) photographs of people and objects are colorful and winsome, and sidebars explain the native plants or traditional objects used to form the shapes—about the crescent-shaped plantains:"These look like bananas, but they are really vegetables." What could otherwise be a charming photo essay is fatally marred by a clunky text ("The musicians were good. So we listened, and when they had finished, we followed them") and a ridiculously contrived story. How is it that Adaora has reached the ripe old age of five without having ever encountered the concept of square? The notion of teaching shapes through multicultural encounter is praiseworthy, but the book's subtitle is disingenuous at best, as this"African book of shapes" ventures no further than one unspecified village, and the culture depicted is never identified. Give this one a miss. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-8)