From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3?A young Congolese girl promises her father to sit still while he preaches during their village Matondo, a celebration of thanksgiving. This is hard to do, because all the town's animals wander in and out of the open thatch shelter built especially for the service, and Luzolo loves playing with them. However, she behaves herself until a wild monkey disrupts things completely and her parents themselves beg her to stop sitting still and help catch him. The story, based on an incident in the author's life, gives a lovely depiction of this traditional festival. Everyone is having fun, interacting with one another, arms outstretched and feet dancing. The vibrant folklike illustrations are dominated by warm yellows, orange-reds, and brown and are alive with movement and color. Luzolo's exuberant fidgety personality is beautifully conveyed as is the sense of community, spirituality, and love among the village people. The text is a little wordy, but it definitely captures the spirit of life in this African village. A brief author's note more fully describes the customs of Matondo festivals.?Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
An unusual tale with a small scope, strong on atmosphere, weak in its storytelling and in its illustration. A family in the Congo prepares for a Thanksgiving celebration. Luzolo, about six, is trying hard to be on her best behavior and sit still during the religious service where her father is the preacher, and where his mentor will be in attendance. She is irresistibly drawn to animals, and many wander into the open-air setting. Still, Luzolo resists the temptation to touch and play with them, even when her mother asks her to intervene when animals get into the food. It's not much of a story, and the illustrations do not intensify the drama; they are poorly drawn and composed, with skewed perspectives that are artless. (Picture book. 5-8) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.