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Themba Hardcover – October 6, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The day has finally come for Themba's father, a poor South African farm hand, to return home from the gold mines where he has worked for the past three years. When Pa does not appear according to schedule, Themba hitches a ride to Queenstown, hoping his father will be on the next train from Johannesburg. The city offers the youngster new, exciting and sometimes frightening experiences. The boy's naivete nearly gets him in trouble, but Pa shows up in the nick of time and safely escorts his son home. This easy-to-read novel, which balances disturbing events with heartwarming episodes, provides a brief yet significant introduction to modern South African culture. Without coming off as moralistic, Sacks ( Beyond Safe Boundaries ) manages to convey the poverty of villagers and the separation of classes. Her concise, unencumbered prose and Clay's lively, atmospheric illustrations prove to be a winning combination. Ages 7-10.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-3-- Themba's father has been far away for three years, working in the gold mines in Johannesburg. The family is excited about the prospect of his return, but when he fails to arrive in their small village on the appointed day, Themba decides he must act. The following Saturday, when the next train is due, he sneaks a ride into Queenstown to wait for him. He is bewildered by the pace of life there, but all is well when he meets his father and they joyfully return home. This is a rather unconvincing portrait of life in the rural Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Themba's friendship with a white farmer's son and his daring visit to a white boarding school in the town are shorn of the racism or even the consciousness of race that pervades the area. The dialogue is flat and does not reveal character, and the pace drags in places. The full-page black-and-white drawings help to set the scene and provide human interest, but the story is slight. --Susan Giffard, Englewood Public Library, NJ
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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