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Mimi Barthelemy
Illustrated by Stephan Daigle
Montreal, Quebec/Amerique, 1991. 94pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 2-89037-554-4. CIP

Grades 4 and up/Ages 9 and up

Reviewed by Doris Lemoine

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

In Le mariage d'une puce, Mimi Barthelemy presents eight Haitian tales that highlight the vitality, the resourcefulness and the musical­ly of Haiti's people.

As in all folk-tales, there are problems to be solved and challenges to be met. In "Le mariage d'une puce," to win Pucette's hand in marriage, suitors must tell her the most beautiful of all stories. Many try in vain but one astute Soueti succeeds! Then there is the princess whose father has promised her to the one who can discover the colour and the texture of her petticoats. Easier said than done, since the princess flies about and seldom lands! And what is in store for Zetwal, whose father refuses to let her wed since she remains the only source of light following the sun's disappearance? Interested candidates have no mean task — make the sun reappear in exchange for Zetwal's hand!

In language and style these tales lend themselves to telling rather than reading. Mimi Barthelemy has retained the Creole chants. (Do not panic if you are unfamiliar with Creole! The author thoughtfully includes translations (into French) at the end of each tale.) The colourful language, the amusing situations, and the rhythmic refrains will appeal to story-tellers and audiences of all ages. After the introductory "Cric Crac" you will be on your way!

Stephan Daigle's colourful cover page and black-and-white illustrations depict the rich imagery of the island of Haiti and convoy the spirit of the people.

Cecile Gagnon's interview with Mimi Barthelemy provides readers with an introduction to Haitian folk-tales, to story- telling as it is practiced in Haiti, and to the author herself. Woloway! (Youppi!)

Doris Lemoine, Direction des resources educative* francaises, Bureau de l''education francaise, Winnipeg, Man.

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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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