________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 16 . . . . April 15, 2005


Mama God, Papa God: A Caribbean Tale.

Ricardo Keens-Douglas. Illustrated by Stefan Czernecki.
Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Books, 1999.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-896580-24-6 (pbk.), ISBN 1-896580-16-5 (cl.).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Rosemary Hollett.

**** /4


Once upon a time--before my time, before your time, before anybody's time, even before there
was time--Mama God and Papa God lived in the empty darkness.


And so begins this retelling of a traditional Caribbean tale of creation. This is a bold, exuberant version that will be read again and again. It is an unusual account as well because it features a Mama God and a Papa God who live together in peace and harmony. They express their love for each other by creating a whole new world of heavenly delights. Out of the darkness came a world filled with trees and flowers and birds and water and fish. Mama God's voice fills the world with the sounds of wind and rain and animals - music to Papa God's ears. Readers will be enchanted by man's creation born of Mama God's love for Papa God. This leads to the "birth" of many men and women as diverse and unique as the birds and the flowers.

Oh, the colors, the shapes, and the sizes they blessed the people with! Everyone different! Everyone beautiful! Everyone a masterpiece!

internal art

     The accompanying illustrations by Stefan Czernecki help set the tone for this humourous yet clever tale. He uses bright primary colours and bold outlines to give a joyous and loving feel to the story. The style of the illustrations suggests the Haitian folk art traditions, and the double page spreads lend an eye-catching rhythm to the tale.

     This book stands alone as a worthy addition to any collection but what a wonderful jumping off point for class discussions. Several areas come to mind. One might compare stories of creation - how does this tale differ from more traditional tales of creation? How is it the same? A teacher may introduce a unit of study on myths and legends. The richness of multi-culturalism could be explored. This is a book teachers, students and families will turn to again and again.

Highly Recommended.

Rosemary Hollett is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.