________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 1 . . . .September 2, 2005

cover

Fresh Fish: A Tale from Tanzania.

John Kilaka.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood, 2005.
32 pp., cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 0-88899-656-X.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

The animals bustled around poor Lion, who was moaning on the ground. No one saw Dog run off into the mountains with his prize.

"It's a good thing we've got the truck, " said Sokwe."You need to get to the hospital."

Mrs. Monkey cut down some branches, and helpful Mrs.Hare explained how to make a stretcher. All the animals were needed to carry Lion to the truck, but when they arrived they found two flat tires. A rusty nail was sticking out of one of them. Mrs. Monkey remembered that she had seen Dog carrying a nail just like it when she'd caught him sniffing around the fish before.

 

This large, poster-bright picture book was originally published in Germany. A trip to the market is the setting for the story of how a group of animals brings predatory Dog to justice when he tries to steal Sokwe Chimp's fish. For the theft, and for puncturing the tire on Sokwe's truck, an action which causes Lion to injure his leg, Dog is sentenced to working "extra hard for the village on Tree Planting Day." The various African animals—Zebra, Hippo and Lemur—are depicted in human garb and walking on two legs as they go about their daily tasks. The folkloric feel of the story is offset by inclusion of modern elements such as the pump used to fix the tire and a tooth-extracting device, which looks like an x-ray machine, at the bush clinic.

internal art     The telling of the tale is straightforward but somewhat lacking in poetic cadence, possibly because something has been, literally, lost in translation. (No translator is credited on the book.) The illustrations, on the brash side of primitivist, are redeemed by the many humourous touches included in the broad spreads.

     The author/illustrator of Fresh Fish is a noted artist in his own country. This interesting book would be suitable for larger picture book collections.

Recommended with reservations.

Ellen Heaney is Head of Children's Services at the New Westminster Public Library in New Westminster, BC.

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.
 

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