Graceful watercolors of Maasai characters moving through the grasslands illuminate We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey Through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs, illus. by Julia Cairns. Rhyming text introduces different animals, from one leopard to 10 elephants. Numbers are also given in Swahili, along with a pronunciation guide; endnotes supply facts about the Maasai and Tanzania. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A lively group of Maasai children takes readers on a trek across the grasslands of Tanzania in a counting book that doubles as an introduction to this culture. Youngsters will learn numbers from one to ten in English and Swahili as Mosi, Tumpe, Arusha, and other friends count African wildlife. Attractive borders frame vibrant watercolor spreads of different types of animals, including giraffes, elephants, zebras, and lions. The rhyming singsong verse, beginning with the refrain "We all went on a safari," lends itself to a fun read-aloud. The artwork is undoubtedly lovely, but there are some cultural misrepresentations. While it may be just to add an element of humor, one must wonder if the inclusion of a few bare-bottomed children doesn't reinforce negative stereotypes about Africans running around naked in the wilderness. Also, even at a young age, a male would always lead the line on the vibrant spreads that illustrate the numbers one (moja) and two (mbili). And why does one boy carry a spear? These children are going on a safari, not a hunt. Still, the panoramic spreads are striking, and the art has a graceful movement that takes readers right into the action and gives a sense of the joy these children are experiencing.-Ajoke' T. I. Kokodoko, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In a fresh, bright successor to Tom Feelings's classic Moja Means One (1971), Krebs (The Beeman, 2002) and Cairns (The Spider Weaver, 2001, etc.) team up to invite readers to tour the Serengeti with a group of young Maasai, counting animals in English and Swahili as they go. The text's easy, natural rhythm makes reading aloud a pleasure, "We all went on safari / Where the treetops intertwine. / We met mischievous monkeys, / So Doto counted nine." Each sharply detailed scene glows with jewel-like color, set off by the traditionally dressed human figures' heads and limbs. In the end, all settle down comfortably for a twilight sing: "We all went on safari, / In the sunset's fading light. / We built ourselves a campfire / And bid our friends 'Good night.' " Further information about the Maasai, Tanzania, the ten children's Swahili names, and the equal number of wild creatures met along the way close this brilliant, horizon-expanding outing. (map, counting pronunciation guide) (Picture book. 5-8)