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Misoso: Once Upon a Time Tales from Africa Hardcover – September 13, 1994

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 13, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679834303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679834304
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,631,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A dozen well-told stories from Africa illustrate the diversity of that continent, highlighting the richness of specific cultures as well as the more general importance of the spoken word. Some stories seem familiar-a pourquoi tale from Sierra Leone of how the leopard got his spots-but the versions here offer new variants (e.g., the pourquoi tale also explains how crying first began-and how it can be stopped). Some are purely amusing, while others have their roots in imperialism and slavery. Aardema (Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears) writes with vigor and wit, sprinkling each entry with words from the country of origin (these are translated in glossaries at the beginning of each story). Individual afterwords set each story in context, and source notes are unusually helpful, explaining that most of the tales are taken from those sub-Saharan coastal regions where European traders, missionaries and anthropologists first established posts and settlements. Illustrations in tropical colors are imbued with movement and energy until the figures seem to be all spiky arms and legs, and Ruffins mirrors Aardema's concern for atmosphere with his use of patterns and geometric details. A zestful and well-researched presentation, delivered via especially clean, inviting book design. Ages 5-10.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-6-Beautifully designed as well as vibrantly illustrated, this compilation of lively African tales works on all levels. A bright, easily read map in the introduction places the stories in their own locale on the continent. Each tale is preceded by a glossary of unfamiliar words and includes an afterword about the setting and culture where the story originated. Aardema's lively style makes the stories leap off the page and beg to be told, or at least read aloud. "Goso the Teacher," a cumulative rhymed narrative originally told in Swahili, recalls "The House that Jack Built" but is firmly set in the culture of Zanzibar. "Leelee Goro," a pourquoi tale from Sierra Leone, gives explanations for eight different phenomena-including how crying came into the world, and how to stop it-yet remains lighthearted and amusing to the end. This collection belongs in every library and classroom.
Connie C. Rockman, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was given a copy of Misoso for my birthday. It was a gift from one of my best sister-friends when she found that I was to become an aunt.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this to my niece, who is now 5 years old. pssssst(I also keep a copy in my office)This book is entirely appealing. The stories will transport one to a different time and place. The pictures are simply gorgeous ...the size of the pages are perfect for reading to groups of children, the vibrant colors, the rhythmic language...If only the prints in the book were commercially available....
It has replaced Make Way for Duckling and Where the Wild Things Are as my favorite children's books. If things couldn't get any better, this book is a compilation of SEVERAL stories.
The lessons learned in this book are universal; hence, children of all ethnicities will appreciate them. This book DEMANDS to be read out loud; luckily, Ms. Aardema's flare for words can make a lyrical storyteller out of anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bluewind on December 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Misoso is a wonderfully written children's book. The pictures are vivid and the storylines do not follow the typical American storyline pattern, making this book a fascinating experience to most children. In all my years of taking care of children, I have never found a single child that did not love this book. I even occasionally see a teenager or two lingering in the doorway when I read Misoso to children. This is why Misoso is my #1 pick for children books.
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Format: Hardcover
My son loved to hear these stories. And in time they began to speak to me as well. The style is fresh and folk lore wise and insightful. A worthy addition to a quality library.
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