4 out of 4 stars
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The Talking Baobab Tree by Nelda LaTeef is an exciting fable with a great message and beautiful imagery. The story follows the rabbit Johari as she gets lost in the desert. She soon comes upon a large baobab tree and falls asleep under its shade. When she wakes up, the baobab tree startles her by talking. Having never met a talking tree before, she is stunned but quickly feels at ease. The baobab offers her fruit and teaches her about his trunk, which holds treasures left behind by travelers.
He allows her to pick one and she then makes her way back home. However, a formidable opponent awaits. Her neighbor, a hyena, notices her new treasure and wants to know where she found it. She refuses to tell the hyena, so he buries her in her burrow until she does. Will the hyena succeed in stealing the baobab tree’s treasure?
LaTeef opens with a brief lesson on the baobab tree and the Wolof people from whom she first heard the story that inspired this book. We are introduced to two Wolof words, Oubi (open) and Jerry-jef (thank you), which have special importance at the end of the story. The culture and history are very interesting, and I learned quite a bit about the baobab tree and its history in just the short blurb that she included at the beginning.
LaTeef truly has a gift for writing and illustrating. The pictures are stunning and help to create a very unique story. Simple but compelling prose makes this a great book for children starting to become independent readers or for reading aloud to younger children. I am looking forward to seeing what LaTeef writes about next.
The beautiful illustrations and story make The Talking Baobab Tree worthy of a 4 out of 4 rating. While reading, I found nothing to dislike. I noted no errors and, as this is a book for children, there is no profanity and no content that could be considered inappropriate. This book would definitely appeal to young and old alike.
The Talking Baobab Tree
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