From School Library Journal
Grade 2–5—In Kenya, the Maasai are cattle herders and the more numerous Kikuyu are farmers. The two groups often fight about land use. This story uses that age-old conflict as a vehicle for contemplating enmity and friendship. When Abaani, a Maasai boy, sees young Haki's Kikuyu vegetable stall near his family's grazing land, he repeats what he's heard from his elders: "You destroy our land!" Haki, of course, takes offense, and the boys are ready to become enemies. However, they see one another's good qualities when circumstances force them together to rescue a straying toddler. Repeated exposure and a few good games of mancala
finally bring about a mutual trust, and they take a real step toward peace when they decide to trade veggies for milk, and to introduce their families. A framing metaphor about the harmony between zebra, wildebeests, and the Thomson's gazelle gently reinforces the lesson. Heartfelt storytelling and strong research combine to offer a universal message with a unique setting. The clear, light-filled illustrations are expressive and create a sense of place. A lovely, hopeful story that manages to convey its message with minimal didacticism.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
About the Author
Lynne Barasch is a Lee and Low author.