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Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (Picture Puffin Books) Paperback – July 15, 1992


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Series: Picture Puffin Books
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (July 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140546049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140546040
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Leo & Diane Dillon are simply enthralling visionary artists!
A Book Is A Wonderous Thing
This is a book that describes different African tribes from each letter of the alphabet.
Amazon Customer
This is an excellent book for children, but it is just as informative for adults.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Ho hum, thought I when I first saw this book. Yet another African alphabet book. It wasn't too long ago that I read, "Jambo Means Hello", the Swahili alphabet book by Muriel Feelings that was published in 1974. That book was okay, but I was disappointed that it didn't distinguish between tribes or acknowledge the advance of technology in Africa in the 1970s. Then I picked up this 1976 Caldecott winning book and upon reading it I was stunned. This book is everything that "Jambo Mean Hello" SHOULD have been. With meticulously researched information, delicate details, and stunning illustrations this book deserves to be read to every single child in elementary school for as long as there are either children or schools.

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.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By JLind555 on August 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Ashanti to Zulu" presents 26 African tribes, from A to Z, and lets children learn something about the culture and customs of each one. Aside from being a learning experience, the book is visually eye-popping; the illustrations are so gorgeous you'll want to blow them up and frame them. The book won a well-deserved Caldecott Medal for the best illustrated children's book of 1977. It's a great book for helping children to learn about some of the peoples of our least-known populated continent, and the pictures will hold the kids mesmerized. It's a volume that belongs on every youngsters bookshelf.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By LJM on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions is one of the most beautiful children's books ever published. It is a unique ABC book in which every letter represents an African tribe. The traditions of each tribe are described in clear text and illustrated with a picture that shows the people, clothing, crafts, type of house, animals and vegetation of the particular tribe. But nothing about this book is pedantic or boring. The text is well researched and each illustration is a unique design. No wonder it won the Caldecott medal for distinguished illustration in 1977 and is still a favorite around the world. So what's my beef? The Picture Puffin edition is cheap and ugly. The cover picture is a ghastly red blur and the inside illustrations are equally distorted in color. It's an insult to the creators. Puffin press should be embarrassed! I was shocked when I saw it and promptly returned it. Do yourself a favor and buy the original 1976 edition (also available on Amazon). It's just a few bucks more and well worth every penny. It's cocktail-table worthy and will be enjoyed by adults perhaps even more than by children.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
An A-to-Z alphabet book for children in which the examples for the letters are twenty-six different tribes in Africa, exhibiting some of their varied traditions and customs. Hence, children learn of other peoples. It was illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon and it won the 1977 Caldecott Medal for best illustration in a book for children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cindy ArmyLi on February 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing book, practically one of a kind! The information, illustions, and luster of the indigenous African cultures is beautiful to behold. I recommed introducing young children to cultures and peoples as varied as the come to fully portray to them the true beauty of this creation, life. There is nothing so intricate, so inveloping and powerful as life in this form. Pronounciation is given for the tribes names to bring ease of reading, which is, in fact, very enjoyable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a book that describes different African tribes from each letter of the alphabet. This is a great way to teach children about African tribes, and the book also pronounces each tribe so it is easier to read. The illustrations are wonderful and full of detail. This would be a great lesson in the classroom to learn about Africa. It would also be great to use each page as a poster or transparency.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 2, 2009
Format: School & Library Binding
If you dig into the children's books in any public or school library, even those of modest means, you will encounter dozens; at times hundreds, of alphabet books. These books come in all sizes, shapes, themes, and difficulty levels. Some are quite good, some are so-so, and some are absolutely horrid,and to he honest, pathetic.

I have a special category for some of these alphabet books though. They are the ones that go beyond the mere "quite good" category and hold a special place. I am please to report that Ashanti to Zulu, African Traditions, by Margaret Musgrove and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon make the cut and in fact is in a rare realm of works that simply do not get better! I was actually shocked, amazed and absolutely delighted when I stumbled across this one. Now let me make one point clear here; this is indeed an alphabet book, but it is also a book that any adult with one ounce of curiosity and appreciation for quality can also enjoy.

Now that being said....

This work covers the alphabet, A through Z using African Tribes. The author starts with Ashanti then proceeds to Baule, Chagga, Dogon, Ewe, Fanti, Ga and so on, until the book ends with Zulu. Each tribe has its own page which is beautifully illustrated (more about that later) and a tremendous amount of information packed into one short paragraph. The writing style can best be illustrated through a direct quote from one of the pages (selected at complete random), such as the page devoted to "S" or to the Sotho:

"S/When a Sotho (soo'-too) girl marries; she does not carry a bouquet of flowers. She holds a magic beaded doll. The doll has no arms or legs, but it does have earrings. Its body is a bright beaded cone. It is Sotho custom for the bride to name the doll.
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