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Kele's Secret

Kele's Secret

by Tololwa M. Mollel, Catherine Stock (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eggs mark the spotthe secret spot where Kele the chicken has been laying, that is. Mollel and Stock set up a lighthearted game of detective in this account of a boy's adventure on his grandmother's coffee farm in Tanzania. Young Yoanes always finds the hens' eggs, even when they are in unusual places, so he feels confident that he can track Kele to her hideaway. But when Kele heads into a creepy, isolated shed, Yoanes wonders if he's brave enough to continue his surveillance. Mollel's (The Orphan Boy) spare text, narrated by Yoanes, gently balances the carefree adventures of boyhood with the drama of facing one's fears. His descriptions of the Tanzanian landscape and some of the chores that keep a farm running are likely to intrigue young readers. Stock's (Tap-Tap) on-site research shows in her fluid, detailed watercolors of contemporary eastern Africa. Stone and tin sheds, women and children in colorful cotton clothing tending the fields, lush coffee bushes and other indigenous trees provide a clear sense of place. An autobiographical note and a glossary of the few Arusha Maasai words sprinkled throughout the text appear on the final page. Ages 4-8. (June)
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
Young Yoanes has a problem. His grandmother's hen, Kele, is hiding her eggs. He finds them in the barn, the fields, and even the outhouse. This little boy is set on finding them all because he can go to the market with his grandmother if he does. He cleverly follows her one day, but she goes into the scariest place on the farm. Yoanes braves his fear of dark places and the Nenauner monster to find the eggs and go to the market. This African tale is brought to life by Stock's detailed watercolors.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-3Young Yoanes lives on a coffee farm in Tanzania with his grandparents. It is his responsibility to gather the hens' eggs to sell at the market, no easy task since the hens lay their eggs in everything from the outhouse to the bamboo groves. Kele is grandmother's trickiest hen and her eggs are always difficult to find. Knowing that his grandmother will reward him with a precious coin to spend at the market, Yoanes is determined to locate the hen's hidden nest. He follows Kele throughout the farm until she enters an old shed made from banana leaves. Overcoming his fears, he enters the shed and becomes a hero when he finds the hoard of eggs. Children will identify with the boy's desire to solve the mystery, his fears of the unknown, and the ultimate triumph of his success. As in Big Boy (Clarion, 1994), Mollel enriches the text with a sampling of words from his native language, which are explained in a glossary. Stock's distinguished watercolors successfully capture the action of the story, the lush setting, and Yoanes's changing expressions. A warm family story with universal appeal, lovingly told.Alicia Eames, Brooklyn Public Library

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.40(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.56(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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