4 out of 4 stars
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The Talking Baobab Tree written and illustrated by Nelda LaTeef is an informative story about an ancient baobab tree and a rabbit named Johari. Johari finds herself lost one day and befriends a tree that gives her shelter, food, and a gift. When she returns home, a jealous neighbor covets the gift and demands greedily to be led to the baobab tree. Using her wits, Johari outsmarts her envious neighbor and teaches him a very valuable life lesson. It comes a little too late for the neighbor, but readers could learn from it.
I found the history behind this book to be enthralling. The author explains at the very beginning of this story that she first heard about the history of the baobab tree on her visit to a Wolof village in Senegal. I think adding this information was quite crucial for this particular story. The information adds depth that might not have been present had the information not been included.
The artwork is also quite stunning. I found myself wishing for a physical copy of this book to better be able to admire the illustrations. The message this story has to tell is also a great one, as it teaches you not to covet what your neighbor has and expect to acquire it without working for it properly yourself.
I found nothing to dislike during my read, not even a single error. This leads me to believe that this book is professionally edited. I wouldn’t mind eventually adding this book to my own collection to remind myself of the history of the baobab tree. There is much to learn from oral histories passed down through the generations, and I believe more of them should be written down and passed around to as many readers as possible.
For this reason, I am rating this book 4 out of 4 stars. I do not feel that there is any particular thing that can be improved for this story to make it better. The stunning artwork and the history behind this story tie it all together quite beautifully.
As for the audience, I would recommend this book to all young children. I would even suggest this one for teens and adults interested in tales created from the histories of other countries. There was no offensive content within this book. Instead, it held many important life lessons. Almost all readers could benefit from the teachings within this particular book.
The Talking Baobab Tree
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