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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; P edition (July 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140546049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140546040
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.5 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Ho hum, thought I when I first saw this book.
E. R. Bird
This is an excellent book for children, but it is just as informative for adults.
Amazon Customer
Leo & Diane Dillon are simply enthralling visionary artists!
A Book Is A Wonderous Thing

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 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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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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5 of 5 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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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 Gypsi Phillips Bates VINE VOICE on July 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Musgrove uses the alphabet book concept to showcase 26 traditional African cultures. For each one, she explains a custom about that culture in one paragraph. Each entry emphasize the variety in the cultures she has chosen. There is no particular rhythm to the prose, she does not use rhyme or repetition, and for that reason it is not an exciting book to read aloud.

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.
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