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Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (Picture Puffin Books (Paperback)) Paperback – July 15, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
The book goes through the alphabet by naming a different tribe for each letter. First of all, I was surprised that there actually was an African tribe for every letter in the alphabet. Shows what I know. As we view each tribe we get a stunning illustration of their clothing, towns or villages, and activities. Author Margaret Musgrove describes their life, picking out the most interesting details for each. Through this method we learn that in Baule legend the crocodiles aided them when they were at war with the Ashanti. Or we find out that in the Tuareg tribe the men are veiled and the women do most of the talking, storytelling, and poetry. From A to Z we see a wide spectrum of African inhabitants, ending with a map of Africa that shows where each tribe resides.
But it doesn't stop there. Feelings explains in her Author's Note in the front that modern technology is changing the face of African life, though she contends that the traditions pictured in this book are still being passed on from generation to generation.Read more ›
For each culture represented, the Dillons illustrated a detailed, realistic family or community scene. Each scene is framed with the same knot design, and each contains a male, female, and child of that particular people, as well a depiction of their home and fauna native to their part of Africa. Despite this planned similarity, each scene is unique. The Dillons depict each tribe with varying skin tones and facial features, use a wide variety of colors and patterns and apparently did extensive research to make each scene accurate. Though they have attempted to be realistic, their style is also traditional, reminiscent of a fairy tale book, with soft lines, gentle shading and muted colors. In addition, the perspective is somewhat stylized, adding a folk art feel. Their illustrations combine well with Musgrove's writing, as they both work together to bring out the beauty and mystique of a culture foreign to most readers.
It is intended for the standard picture book age*, and may not be appropriate. Preschoolers may not be mature enough to understand or be interested in other cultures yet, though these illustrations could be enticing enough to make them want the book read aloud. Many of the terms will be too advanced for early readers, making this one that will need to be read with an adult for the majority of those in the intended age range.
*note: I have since found out that Amazon has this rated for the wrong age group; according to the Children's Literature Comprehensive Database it is intended for grades 4-5.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book! Next I will look up each tribe represented in this book to learn more about their rich customs.Published 1 month ago by Paula D Adams
Engaging text with stunning illustrations...great introduction to some African traditions and culture.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great history lesson. I learned a lot and the graphics are amazing.Published 17 months ago by isabelle
Beautiful traditions and images from Africa all set to the letters of the alphabet. There is also an excellent map on the last page of the book showing where all the various ethnic... Read morePublished 19 months ago by K. C. Harris
Beautiful pictures and stories that complimented our studies on Ancient Kush and Africa. This was real treat and fun way to learn about unfamiliar traditions and culture.Published 22 months ago by Emily
I read this book in 1980 in Kindergarten. It was one of my favorite books then and one of my favorite books now. Great job!Published on October 12, 2013 by J.Marie
Nice colored painting and understandable comments.
Is a lecture of just 10 minutes in the beginning. But
step by step you get more exited.
As you might read from other reviewers, it is a great alphabet book. However, the illustrations teach children misconceptions about Africans that are not necessarily true. Read morePublished on May 1, 2012 by HorcriKiller