After living in South Africa for four years in the early 1990s, I came to appreciate the "small" stories of peoples' struggles as well as the larger fight for racial justice. "Not so fast, Songololo" represents both the larger and smaller story: Songologo doesn't have a pair of new sneakers - which many children take for granted - because it costs a lot of money for his family to pay for them. So when his grandmother treats him to a pair, it's a big event in his life. The pictures are lovely - capturing the rhythms of life for some South African children. I regret that there are not more books about them - and not enough by South African authors (Niki Daly is one of the few, and his other children's books set in South Africa, including Papa Lucky's Shadow and Jamela's Dress, are also lovely; Rachel Isadora is an American writer who has written some wonderful children's books set in South Africa). It's a sweet book that my daughter, who is 5, and I have loved reading together. We especially enjoyed taking it to South Africa when we went there together earlier this year, and then gave it to the mother of a four-year-old we met.
This book is full of creative, yet brief descriptions. For instance, a city crosswalk is referred to as a "zebra crossing." Also, with few words and simple language, the author is able to create vivid pictures inside the reader's head. These images are supplemented by awesome illustrations, which, besides accurately depicting the plot described in the text, also suggest stories of their own. As a kid, I liked this book because I empathized with Songololo in his quiet longing for new shoes. Now, as a teenager, I read it because the writing is meaty and touching, and the illustrations are fun to look at. You must buy this book!
I am from South Africa, and really enjoy teaching my children about where I grew up. This book has lovely illustrations, and a great story about a boy and his grandmother. It reminded me of the stores, taxis, and people that make South Africa such a colorful place. This book would make a perfect addition to any family's multicultural library!
The 2nd hand copy was in perfect condition. My grand daughters 6 & 4 years old, loved the story and the illustrations of the little African boy Songololo and his grandmother. The bond between the 2 generations was central to the story. The girls related so well to this book because their mothers had a copy of this book +20 years ago when they were under 10. This book was also a wonderful tool to explain that not every one has the opportunity to buy new items of clothing. Also, in some countries, driving in your own vehicle is not a given privilege and public transport is the only way to get to go shopping.