4 out of 4 stars
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The Talking Baobab Tree is a children’s book derived from a folk tale the author heard told in a Wolof village in Senegal, west Africa. Talk about a cool place to pick up a story. It has all the feel of an old, wise tale that isn’t so much plausible as it is fun, with a clever moral.
Nelda LaTeef tells the tale of a lost rabbit in the dessert who stumbles across a talking baobab tree out in the middle of nowhere. The tree helps the lost rabbit, and shares not only its resources but also a beautiful necklace from the treasure that the tree had hidden in its trunk. Along with the piece of treasure the tree gives the rabbit a warning to never return and to be ware of those who have no treasure. The rabbit accepts the warning and happily goes home, wearing the necklace she was given. But when she gets home her piece of treasure draws the attention of a laughing hyena (with selfish motives) which ensues choices and consequences for both the rabbit and the hyena as the hyena tries to extract the whereabouts of the treasure from the rabbit. It’s a picture book, so the story is short and simple, but there is much more to it than my short summary. No need to think I told you the whole thing. I didn’t.
I thought that Nelda LaTeef did a really great job with The Talking Baobab Tree. The story was enjoyable to read, simple enough to read to young children, and yet the kind of story that can spark lots of fun, interactive conversation. Though reading it for the first time had me wondering what would happen next, I thought reading it a second time was just as fun.
The only thing I can think of that I didn’t quite like was that there was a small part in the dialog, when the rabbit first wakes up from her nap, that I stumbled over both times I read it. I just couldn’t quite get it to flow. But that could have just been me.
I gave this book four out of four stars. I gave it four stars because I thought it was well done, cute, and, as I mentioned, it had lots of potential to have fun, interactive conversation with the little people in your life. I didn’t give it three stars because I couldn’t think of a good reason not to give it four.
I think any children old enough to comprehend and enjoy stories like The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man, and Chicken Little would enjoy this book. Also, of course, any of those adults who can still appreciate a good children’s folk tale with fun, readable lines.
The Talking Baobab Tree
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