From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 3–Through vivid, descriptive text that highlights the Kenyan countryside and culture, this story about one day in the life of a Kalenjin boy unfolds. Roosters crow, and you wake one morning in the green hills of Africa, sun lemon bright over eucalyptus trees full of doves. The boy’s primary chore is to take his grandfather’s cows to the pasture and watch them carefully. However, once he gets them there, he slips away to see who else is awake. From then on, he keeps getting distracted by one thing or another. When he finally looks to where the cows should be, they are not there. His expression is forlorn as he ponders, Why did you wander? Why didn’t you stay and do the job Mama gave you today? When he meets his grandfather leading the cows on the path home–something he should have been doing–the youngster is contrite. Grandfather simply hands him back his cow switch and says, Twende nyumbani sasa–Let’s go home now. The brilliant, colorful, and humorous illustrations stand out against the white backgrounds and are large enough for group viewing. A gentle story about family, responsibility, and a curious little boy.–Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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PreS-K. “Roosters crow and you wake up in the green hills of Africa.” Short, poetic phrases, filled with sensory images, describe a young boy’s day in a Kenyan village. He spends a “windy morning” herding his cattle, but his attention gradually wanders to his neighbors at the tea stand, to the village chief’s wood shop, and so on, until he forgets his herd altogether. Luckily, the boy’s grandfather comes to the rescue. The rhythmic, repetitive language winds the day’s activity to a graceful, bedtime close and roots the simple story in Kiswahili phrases and cultural details–from the boy’s breakfast of maize porridge to the chief’s ceremonial stick. Juan’s color-saturated, slightly stylized paintings bring the lush landscape and friendly community to life and expand the sense of a child’s freedom and belonging. More specifics about the child’s tribe appear in a brief author’s note. Suggest this as a story hour choice for kindergarten units about neighborhoods and homes. Gillian Engberg
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Imagine you live in a small Kenyan village, where the sun rises over tall trees filled with doves. You wake to the sound of a rooster’s crow, instead of an alarm clock and the school bus. Your afternoon snack is a tasty bug plucked from the sky, instead of an apple. And rather than kicking a soccer ball across a field, you kick a homemade ball of rags down a dusty road. But despite this, things aren’t that different for a Kenyan child than they would be for an American kid, are they? With so much going on around you, it’s just as easy to forget what your mama asked you to do!