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Abiyoyo Book and CD Hardcover – October 1, 2001

61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Abiyoyo, the popular picture-book version of a storysong by Pete Seeger, illustrated by Michael Hays, turns 15 in October. To celebrate, Simon & Schuster is issuing a special anniversary edition of the book, which will come packaged with a CD recording of Seeger performing two different versions of his work in colorful storytelling style, one from 1956, the other, a live performance captured in 1991. Inspired by a South African folktale, the story of how a father and son vanquish the giant named Abiyoyo has long been a favorite and has been featured on PBS's Reading Rainbow. In addition to the audio bonus, Seeger fans have still more to cheer about: the original hardcover (without CD) will remain in print and a sequel, Abiyoyo Returns, will be released in October as well.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3 The words in this story-song flow along with the same ease and naturalness as Seeger's well-known telling on the recording, Abiyoyo and Other Story Songs (Folkways, 1967). There are only minor changes in this version, and the style reflects an oral rather than a literary tradition as Seeger switches from past to present tense in the text. Seeger combines his sense of humor and drama to turn disturbing events to high-spirited fun, as a father and son, turned out by their neighbors as troublemakers, use the very objects that bother peoplethe boy's clinking-clonking ukelele and the father's magic wandto obliviate Abiyoyo, monster on the loose, and so come back into community favor. The tale contains levels of meaning and powerful metaphors for those who choose to pursue them. If Hays' oil-on-linen illustrations are not always successful, it may be that they seem too studied when matched with Seeger's spontaneous, colloquial style. For example, the father is a magician in the simplest sense, yet Hays renders a "magic shop" in the background, with doves, rabbits, silk hatsnot the stuff of most folk tales. In peopling the village, too, he seems to be laboring to make a global statement, surrounding the black boy and his father with people of all races, places, beliefs. His Abiyoyo is a shadowy, looming figure against the blood-red sky, at first a faceless force, growing larger, and finally a towering glaring figure full of terrible witless energy. What is surprising about this Abiyoyo is the lack of earthiness. He is not sinew and muscle, but an automaton with a metallic gleam, the huge overalls he wears seeming an incongruous folksy touch. Still, there are also some very fine illustrations here, and this is a book worthy of attention. It merits a wide audience. Susan Powers, Berkeley Carroll Street School, Brooklyn
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Rei/Com edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689846932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689846939
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Theo Logos on October 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Abiyoyo was an African folktale, adapted by folk singer Pete Seeger as a bedtime story for his children, and later used in his concerts. The story is brilliant in its gripping simplicity, perfectly suited to capture the attention of small children and spark their imaginations. A little boy who plays the ukulele and his father, who plays tricks on people by using a magic wand to make things disappear are run out of town because they are annoying everyone. Then a giant from the old days, who eats people alive, comes and threatens the town, and it is only the little boy and his dad, using the very talents that had annoyed everyone, who save the day, and become heroes.
This book is the very favorite of my two pre-school boys. Everyday they bring it to me repeatedly asking me to read it to them. Every night, they request it as their last bedtime story (the story is easy to memorize, and lends itself well to personal adaptations). My four-year old will "read" the book himself, turning through the pages and repeating the story that he has memorized. Abiyoyo has captured their imaginations, and even entered into their play.
The book's illustrations are intriguing. As I mentioned, this story was adapted from an African folktale, and the boy and his father are depicted appropriately in character. But the illustrator depicts the town in which they live as a global village, with the residents being of many races and cultures, all wearing classic costumes of those cultures. Originally, this concept put me off a bit - an impossible mish-mash village that seemed little more than a sop to political correctness for kids. But as I watched my kids react to the book, my opinion changed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jane bishop on March 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Chrildren at my nursery school beg to hear this book over and over,I also love it and readily comply. We have the audio recording by Pete Seegar to accompany this story, he is a joy to listen to.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
My boys discovered this book at their preschool - both my two year old and the four year old adore the story and love the song that goes along with it (it's a Pete Seeger classic)! We now have a copy at home and it gets read aloud at least once a day. I highly recommend this book to anyone with young children - I just wish you carried the version with the audio tape and song. We can't seem to find it anywhere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Every summer, the library in which I work has daily storytimes. And when 3:30 rolls around, the librarian who's supposed to be doing the reading (that would be me) inevitably starts searching the shelves for some sure-fire storytime hits. It isn't easy. You have to gauge how old your audience is going to be, sight unseen, and come up with a variety of different reading levels just in case. You need books that sound good on the tongue, are interesting, sport amusing pictures, and yet have just enough creativity to enliven a half-hour of tale telling. With all this in mind, thank God for "Abiyoyo". It fulfills a storyteller's every need and keeps 'em coming back for more. Little wonder it's as popular as it is.

In a town populated by people of every race, persuasion, and creed, a boy and his father live. They're not the most popular people in town. The boy plucks his ukelele everywhere to the distraction of his neighbors and his father, a yuckster, likes to make things disappear for no good reason. Unsurprisingly, they're chucked out of town when the boy's pa makes one thing too many go "zoop!". On the edge of town one day, they spot a fearsome sight. A giant by the name of Abiyoyo has appeared and he has a ravenous appetite for sheep, cows, and people. Fortunately, the boy and the father have a plan and it isn't long before their ukelele and magic wand have some very practical uses indeed.

Now I know this book is called a "storysong" and that it certainly couldn't hurt to sing it aloud during the reading, but I tell you here and now that a musical ear is not a requirement for this tale. Admittedly, I'd recommend that you purchase a version of this book that comes with a recording by Pete Seeger. Obviously.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kara Reuter on September 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
In a storysong based on a South African folktale, a young boy and his father are cast out of town because they annoy the townspeople with their ukulele playing and magic tricks. When the giant Abiyoyo comes to town wreaking havoc, the father and son save the day with the same ukulele music and magic.

Do yourself a favor and check out Seeger's performance, which is really is delightful - you can hear the children laughing at some parts and the adults at others. The book, however, falls a little flat for me. In print, the text seems dull and a little spare and, for a storysong, it has little rhythm. The illustrations aren't particularly remarkable, but the diversity of the townfolk is a little heavy-handed, with an Asian woman with chopsticks in her hair, an Indian woman with a bindi on her forehead, a Buddhist monk, a bearded man with a yarmulke, an American Indian man with braids and a feathered headband, and a man of indeterminate origin with a turban on his head and a monkey on his shoulder! With what we can hear in Seeger's performance, I wonder if a new edition with updated illustrations is in order. Also, I would be interested in knowing more about the tale this was based on - in a nice introduction honoring the tradition of oral storytelling, Seeger admits to building the story out of a footnote. I would be interested in knowing a bit more about the story's origins.
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