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Abiyoyo Book and CD Hardcover – October 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Abiyoyo, the popular picture-book version of a storysong by Pete Seeger, illustrated by Michael Hays, turns 15 in October. To celebrate, Simon & Schuster is issuing a special anniversary edition of the book, which will come packaged with a CD recording of Seeger performing two different versions of his work in colorful storytelling style, one from 1956, the other, a live performance captured in 1991. Inspired by a South African folktale, the story of how a father and son vanquish the giant named Abiyoyo has long been a favorite and has been featured on PBS's Reading Rainbow. In addition to the audio bonus, Seeger fans have still more to cheer about: the original hardcover (without CD) will remain in print and a sequel, Abiyoyo Returns, will be released in October as well.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3 The words in this story-song flow along with the same ease and naturalness as Seeger's well-known telling on the recording, Abiyoyo and Other Story Songs (Folkways, 1967). There are only minor changes in this version, and the style reflects an oral rather than a literary tradition as Seeger switches from past to present tense in the text. Seeger combines his sense of humor and drama to turn disturbing events to high-spirited fun, as a father and son, turned out by their neighbors as troublemakers, use the very objects that bother peoplethe boy's clinking-clonking ukelele and the father's magic wandto obliviate Abiyoyo, monster on the loose, and so come back into community favor. The tale contains levels of meaning and powerful metaphors for those who choose to pursue them. If Hays' oil-on-linen illustrations are not always successful, it may be that they seem too studied when matched with Seeger's spontaneous, colloquial style. For example, the father is a magician in the simplest sense, yet Hays renders a "magic shop" in the background, with doves, rabbits, silk hatsnot the stuff of most folk tales. In peopling the village, too, he seems to be laboring to make a global statement, surrounding the black boy and his father with people of all races, places, beliefs. His Abiyoyo is a shadowy, looming figure against the blood-red sky, at first a faceless force, growing larger, and finally a towering glaring figure full of terrible witless energy. What is surprising about this Abiyoyo is the lack of earthiness. He is not sinew and muscle, but an automaton with a metallic gleam, the huge overalls he wears seeming an incongruous folksy touch. Still, there are also some very fine illustrations here, and this is a book worthy of attention. It merits a wide audience. Susan Powers, Berkeley Carroll Street School, Brooklyn
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
1) American folk star decides to re-interpret a SA folktale right around the time when the country is still reeling from apartheid.
2) Impress your vision of a global village by having folks of all ethnicities in the book (Yeah, good intentions, but why don't you leave a country already in turmoil own its cultural identity? Pick a different country for the feel-good "vibes" like for example...the US
3) Just for giggles make the black man and his son the bad guys, and all the people they play tricks on non-black. I know people will roll their eyes and say "not everything is about race," but when all black kids see around them is how bad it is to be bad, you can't have an author be so intent on making the book multicultural while sticking to a certain palette on something as essential to the storyline as bad-guy vs. hard-working/just need a glass of water or rest good guys
4) Black people have to redeem themselves, slay giants, to be accepted back in the village. You have to earn your place in society. You're inherently bad, and deserve to be outcast; but if you're good enough, we can allow you to come back.
Please, Seeger should have stuck with singing and writing songs. Leave SA folklore alone. Let Africans tell their own stories while honoring their culture. It'd be disrespectful if I picked a Norse folklore and twist it up to fit my own perception of the world. Have some respect for Africans and let them write their own stories.
Parents, don't get this garbage to expose your kids to SA culture. Children's book authors think carefully about what they put on the page. This book was made with good intentions but the authors had a poor grasp on what it means to be SA.
This book is the very favorite of my two pre-school boys. Everyday they bring it to me repeatedly asking me to read it to them. Every night, they request it as their last bedtime story (the story is easy to memorize, and lends itself well to personal adaptations). My four-year old will "read" the book himself, turning through the pages and repeating the story that he has memorized. Abiyoyo has captured their imaginations, and even entered into their play.
The book's illustrations are intriguing. As I mentioned, this story was adapted from an African folktale, and the boy and his father are depicted appropriately in character. But the illustrator depicts the town in which they live as a global village, with the residents being of many races and cultures, all wearing classic costumes of those cultures. Originally, this concept put me off a bit - an impossible mish-mash village that seemed little more than a sop to political correctness for kids. But as I watched my kids react to the book, my opinion changed. The multitude of customs stirred their curiosity, and as I answered their questions about each one, I realized that these illustrations provided an excellent tool for introducing them to the concept of different cultures.
This is a quality product - a great, simple story, creative illustrations, and a nice CD included with two versions of Pete Seeger telling the story in his own voice. My boys and I give it our highest recommendation.