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Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa Paperback


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Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa + Jabutí the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon + Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 370L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152010106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152010102
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This straightforward retelling by the Caldecott Award-winning illustrator of Arrow to the Sun features bold, vibrant shapes and hues. When Zomo ("He is not big. He is not strong. But he is very clever") beseeches the Sky God for wisdom, he is set three impossible tasks: he must bring back "the scales of Big Fish in the sea . . . the milk of Wild Cow and the tooth of Leopard." The cunning rabbit dupes the three creatures into giving up these prizes, but returns to discover that the joke's on him. His newfound wisdom? To run like mad from the three very angry animals. The tale moves along with the swift concision of a good joke, right down to its satisfying punch line. McDermott's gouache illustrations in brilliant hues of fuchsia, green and orange recall the color and geometric lines of West African textiles. The dazzling artwork shows Big Fish dancing until his scales cascade to the ground, the scrawny Wild Cow ramming a palm tree and getting stuck there, and Leopard tumbling down a hill and knocking out his tooth. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-- McDermott tells the story of Zomo the rabbit, the trickster who originated in Nigeria and who lives on in the lore of the Caribbean and the United States. When the irresponsible black rabbit asks the Sky God for wisdom, he is given three impossible tasks: he must get the scales of Big Fish, the milk of Wild Cow, and the tooth of Leopard. He does all these things and in the end the Sky God rewards him with wisdom, and warns that next time he sees his victims, he had better run fast. This colorful rendition of the story is done with the kind of bold graphics that gave McDermott's early works their immediate popularity. The horizon is low on the page so that there is a great sense of air and space. The bright gold of the sky adds warmth. The illustrations masterfully integrate a variety of styles the artist has used in the past. His characters are more realistically drawn than in his earliest work, but they are adorned with dramatic graphic patterns. It is larger and more visually expansive than McDermott's Anansi the Spider (1972) or The Magic Tree (1973; o.p., both Holt). With its small but triumphant hero clad in a colorful dashiki and a cap, its dazzling design, and its great good humor, this story will be a pleasure to use with children. --Marilyn Iarusso, New York Public Library
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The illustrations are great and the story is really funny.
F. Palmer
The art is bright, whimsical, and a nice, distinctive style, something we've come to expect form McDermott.
A. Wallace
Some books you pick up and groan when your kids want you to read them forty or fifty times in a row.
E. R. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
One of the universal figures in mythology is the trickster, from Hermes of classical mythology to Iktomi of the Indians of the American plains. Zomo the Rabbit is an example of an animal trickster and is often at the center of many of the traditional tales of West Africa, while other cultures tell similar stories about the Spider and the Tortoise using guile and trickery to outwit their larger foes.
In "Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa" Gerald McDermott knows that he is clever but wishes to acquire wisdom. But before he can earn wisdom the Sky God gives him three impossible tasks and requires Zomo to bring him the scales of Big Fish in the sea, the milk of Wild Cow, and the tooth of Leopard. The question is whether Zomo's cleverness can make up for the fact that the is not big and he is not strong. Well, of course, he can, but that does not necessarily mean that gaining wisdom will make his life any easier out in the jungle.
McDermott's colorful artwork is influenced by African designs and he tells the tale with simple, rhythmic language that will appeal to the youngest of readers. The author and illustrator has been studying the trickster motif in folklore and mythology for some time, having earned a Caldecott Honor for "Anansi the Spider," another tale from Africa. "Zomo the Rabbit" will obviously remind many young readers of another rascally rabbit, which will help establish the idea that the trickster has been around for a long time in many different, but similar, guises.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Is there any higher praise an author/illustrator can receive than to hear a reviewer say, "Well, I never really loved anything else this person did, but I think this book is bloody brilliant"? Probably. But I for one feel that Gerald McDermott (who I've always respected but never felt any real affection for) really hit the nail on the head with this book. "Zomo" has the near impossible task of being both amusing and informative. So many African folktales relayed in children's picture books end up being a little dry and dated. For example, the book "Zomo" most resembles in plot is, "A Story, A Story" by G. Haley. Yet that book is a dour dull creation when compared to this amazing little concoction. This is a book that every child should read at least once in their lives.

As you open the book you see a clever little rabbit all decked out in kinte cloth. The text reads, "Zomo! Zomo the rabbit. He is not big. He is not strong. But he is very clever". When Zomo decides that being clever is not enough and that he wants wisdom as well he quickly requests it from the Sky God. To attain wisdom's secrets, the Sky God commands Zomo to fetch him the scales of Big Fish of the sea, the milk of Wild Cow, and the tooth of Leopard. Zomo immediately sets out to fulfill these tasks. For the fish he plays a catchy tune on his drum, so entrancing the sea dwelling creature that it dances its scales off. The Wild Cow is lured into a tree and, while stuck, Zomo milks it. As for Leopard, some of the slippery scales dropped into slippery milk cause the feline to slip and knock out a tooth. When Zomo presents these items to the Sky God he is instantly told that wisdom consists of courage, good sense, and caution.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Zomo is a rabbit who is "clever" but wants "wisdom" so goes to SkyGod, who tells him he must do "three impossible things:" bring him "the scales of Big Fish in the sea, "the milk of Wild Cow" and "the tooth of leopard." Zomo tricks the fish into dancing to his drumbeat until his scales fall off, tricks the cow into ramming the palm tree until she's stuck so he can milk her (reminds me of Brer Rabbit and Sis Cow), and then trips the leopard on the slippery scales and milk to get the tooth. Unique, vividly colored illustrations accompany the simple story. I will say I don't quite get the ending where he earns wisdom, and all he does with it is run very fast (wasn't he doing that already?). Overall however, the illustrations and clever rabbit make a great story for my toddler.
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By J. C. Cheek on February 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My kids love Mr. McDermott's books and this is no exception. Easy to read, colorful and it gives them a different perspective on things.
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By Dr CJ on January 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story is truly a great tale of mythology which you my recognize in many recent movies. However the creator of the eBook has less wisdom then the little rabbit in the book. Poor human interface, poor layout design and if the author was still alive he would surely be angry at how his wonderful story, drawings and presentation was butchered by a group of people who know nothing about instructional technologies. Shame is the only thing to say about this books format. Go back to school and learn the right way or get out of the business before you destroy another work of art .
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By Paula A. Moore on October 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I absolutely love Gerald McDermott. His books are filled with absolutely stunning artwork which helps to accent the stories that he is telling. I love that he does ethnic folk tales from all over the world! What a treasure!
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By E. sapp on August 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kid gets a kick out of this book..wants to hear it over and over. nice artwork and quality of book and story
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