Best Loved Tales for Africa

| October 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

Like all its other offerings, the Best Loved Tales for Africa series – comprising six books for young readers – is entirely southern African in content, idiom, illustration and style.

Reviewed by: Fiona de Villiers

Each story is based on a tale more familiar perhaps to European readers; each has been lovingly reworked to appeal to the children of this country. In The Three Billy Goats Gruff, the ugly green monster blocking the way to a sweet green koppie, has eyes that gleam “like ripe mangoes”.

On his important journey to selfdiscovery, The Ugly Duckling meets a flock of noisy, unkind hadedas. And preparing to search for ingredients to bake some bread, The Little Red Hen resolutely ties a doek under her chin. Even the story that may be the most unfamiliar, The little girl who didn’t want to grow up – a rewriting of Gianni Rodari’s Tinarina – stars a local heroine called Ayanda, who lives in a rural village that will be familiar to many young readers.

Each book in the six-part series partners simple text with entrancing illustrations – a commitment, says series editor Carole Bloch, to “the thousands of little children in Africa who want more and more storybooks”, and a comfort to those of us who still believe in the power of the printed page over the digital word. Each book is available in a variety of our official languages, and I loved the message on the back covers: “Read aloud, read together, read alone, read forever!”

Titles in the series include:

  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff ISBN: 978-1-77009-765-0
  • The little girl who didn’t want to grow up ISBN: 978-1-77009-819-0
  • The Ugly Duckling ISBN: 978-1-77009-823-7
  • The Little Red Hen ISBN: 978-1-77009-821-3
  • The Hyena and the Seven Little Kids ISBN: 978-1-77009-820-6
  • The Magic Fish ISBN: 978-1-77009-822-0

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Category: Book Reviews, Spring 2011

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