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Gugu's House Hardcover – January 22, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2-A warm, intergenerational story set in Zimbabwe. Kukamba travels from her home in the city to visit her grandmother in her village. Gugu has painted her compound with vivid colors and patterns, and has sculpted many animals including a larger-than-life zebra. She is an artist and she shares her secrets of mixing the colors for paint; there is red in the riverbed clay, white in the ash from the fire, and green in cattle dung. Kukamba discovers that she, too, has an artistic flair and the two create beautiful paintings together. Gugu's house is a gathering place for the villagers, and since the area has been experiencing a long drought, her stories add a welcome dose of humor to their somber moods. The rains finally come and the village is overjoyed. Kukamba is upset because the paintings and sculptures have all washed away, but Gugu shows her that nature has emerged with her own colors after the rain. The mood of the text is perfectly mirrored in the watercolor illustrations. The concern and despair over the drought give way to the sheer joy in the rains and the burst of color at the end. This will be a wonderful read-aloud, particularly when paired with Ifeoma Onyefulu's Grandfather's Work (Millbrook, 1998), or useful as a literature tie-in to a lesson on Africa.-Genevieve Ceraldi, New York Public Library

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 6-8. The author of Where Are You Going, Manyoni? (1993) draws once again on travels and acquaintances in Zimbabwe for this joyful portrait of a wise, loving grandmother. Kukamba (a Venda name meaning "Little Tortoise") loves staying with her Gugu in a thatched-roof house made vibrant not only by walls covered in abstract painted patterns but also by a splendid array of clay sculptures, including a ridable zebra in the courtyard. Clay and paint aren't Gugu's only media either, for when the village people return from the hot, dry fields, she lifts their spirits with a lighthearted story. The rains finally come, but Kukamba's relief turns to dismay when she sees the wonderful colors of Gugu's creations washed away. "Come, my little one," says Gugu, "and I will show you where all the colors have gone." They are in meadows of fresh wildflowers and in blooming baobabs busy with birds. Stock's watercolors capture not only the bright hues of landscape and traditional dress but also a clear sense of Gugu's deep serenity and the shared purpose that sends her and Kukamba striding back from their walk to restore the house to its former glory. The author closes with a glossary and an introduction to the real woman on whom Gugu is based. The warm emotions and the setting will remind children of Maya Angelou's My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me (1994). GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; Library Binding edition (January 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618003894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618003891
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,672,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a popular book in our home, with both children requesting it regularly. My 7-year-old still has not outgrown it, and my 4-year-old is just now fully appreciating it. This is a book about art, about family, and about the things that matter most in life -- the story is uplifting, the writing is vivid, and the illustrations are lovely.
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Format: Hardcover
The author of Gugu¡¯s House uses her colorful imagination as well as her personal experiences as the basis for the plot and illustrations in this book. A curious little girl named Kukamba, who is the narrator and a main character, learns an intriguing lesson about the importance of art in the community from her grandmother, Gugu. Gugu¡¯s bright personality develops through her creation of art in everything that surrounds her. Stock based her character on the story of a woman who shares this same love of artwork with Gugu. Gugu instills this same value and appreciation in her granddaughter, who also possesses a vivid imagination. On a rainy day, Kukamba emerges to find that the water washes the beautiful masterpieces away. Gugu, who is also the town¡¯s inspirational storyteller, quickly reminds Kukamba that there are amazing and wonderful things to see in all of the nature that surrounds her. She takes the young girl to view the bright colors and wildlife that come with the rain. Kukamba is enlightened and immediately returns to create new masterpieces with her prime motivator, Gugu.
Stock wrote the text in a happy and upbeat fashion that compliments the mood of the characters. Stock¡¯s vibrant illustrations of Gugu and Kukamba¡¯s artwork as well as those of the lush vegetation coincide with the liveliness of the story. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy reading and learning from this entertaining book.
Stock, Catherine. Gugu¡¯s House. New York: Clarion Books, 2001.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting book about art in Zimbabwe. Gugu decorates her compound with many natural paints and materials. When rain comes, everything is ruined but it is a time of celbration, the dry season becomes rainy and the plants and animals grow.
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Format: Hardcover
Loved this book as a story for my preschool toddler. Lovely story, funny parts he recites now and then, and a beautifully woven, subtle lesson on the gifts and ways of living with impermanence.
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