Posts tagged ‘South Africa’

TALL TALES FROM LITTLE PEOPLE

Fairies and Elves: Folktales from around the world (Bedtime stories, Fairy Tales for Kids ages 6-12)

Written by Teya Evans

This folktale collection consists of ten stories from around the world. They do not fit the mold of commonly repeated tales. Rather than centering on one part of the world, the author covers the globe and the continents. Featured tales originate in Iceland, South Africa, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Iran, Benin, and Wales. A human character interacts with magical spirits in each of the tales.

These nuggets of cultural traditions were passed down from generation to generation. They teach readers lessons about themselves, our relationships with the world around us, and how to honor and respect all forms of life both large and small. The advice to be truthful and to keep your promises is embedded throughout the stories.

The print is large and comfortable for young readers, although the passive voice is used frequently. I believe the stories might be even more interesting if a few illustrations were included. These are the reasons for my rating of three and a half stars. Recommended for readers in elementary and middle school.

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A SYMBOL OF PRIDE

African Wild Dogs: Amazing Facts and Fun Photos About African Wild Dogs

Written by Rita Terry

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An interesting picture book for elementary school children and all those who are interested in unusual animals. African wild dogs are related to canines and wolves. Unlike domesticated dogs they have four claws instead of five. Like wolves they live in packs. They are carnivores and their hunting habits require a rather large habitat area of 1,500 square kilometers. African wild dogs are sometimes called painted dogs because they are covered with patches of red, black, white, yellow, and brown patches. Today their habitat has been largely reduced to South Africa due to rabies, vehicle accidents and the rapid encroachment of farmers upon their territory.

Terry discusses how these creatures communicate and the rituals they perform before the hunt. She explains how the pack is dominated by an alpha male and female, but stresses the fact that all members of the pack understand their roles and are protected and maintained by the rest of the family. The inside photographs are excellent; they capture the spirit and character of the animal. The print is large and easy to read for the younger reader, and the text well-written for the most part. Nice book to put on a classroom reference shelf for those interested in animals or dogs in particular. The author has written other nonfiction books about many other animals living in the past and present. Available in kindle and print format.

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A WALK THROUGH TIME

A Rainbow of Thanks

Written by Kathleen J. Shields

ARainbowofThankspic

Kate Silverton is an eleven year old about to celebrate her birthday. Her teacher Mrs. Guffey, who she likes to call Mrs. Tuffey, has given them a weekend homework assignment to write about another culture. After being disappointed by her relative’s birthday gifts, Kate heads out to the backyard with her backpack. Suddenly, it begins to rain and she takes refuge. When the rain stops, Kate is surprised to find a rainbow which she walks through. On the other side, she meets a Navajo boy named Little Elk who is sitting on a rock in Arizona during “the week of silence.” He asks her where she came from explaining that Navajos believe the God travels on a rainbow and that a rainbow is a bridge between the human world and the other side. Rainbows also carry heroes between earth and heaven. Kate is mystified; she informs the boy that she is simply an American from Ohio who walked through a rainbow to the other side. How did she get to Arizona? Realizing that she must walk back through the rainbow to the other side before it disappears, Kate pulls out the walkman  radio from her backpack and gives it as a gift to Little Elk to ease his time of silence.

Things get even stranger when Kate emerges from the rainbow in the jungle listening to the sound of elephants and seeing a little girl named Chicktow who is searching the ground for grubs to eat. Kate is now in Victoria Falls. She presents her new friend with some oatmeal cookies stamped with Kate’s name and address labels. Kate descends with her friend to the bottom of the Falls where they locate the remnants of the rainbow. Chicktow  tells her that the rainbow arch frames the Queen of Heaven. Kate quickly steps into the arch.

Kate is disappointed to find herself in Dublin, Ireland when she emerges. The Flanagan boys greet her. In Ireland the rainbow is considered the hem of God’s garments. They tell her that leprechauns believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but all Kate wants is to return to Ohio. She presents them with the old video player she received as a gift before she departs. Kate must still journey to Germany, Russia, Polynesia, Croatia and Scotland before she lands back in the United States. In California, she meets a medicine man of the Mojave who tells her that the rainbow is a charm the Creator uses to stop a rain storm. Finally, she walks through the rainbow one hour later to find herself at home in Ohio.

Wow! What a journey! Kate writes her report immediately before she forgets her adventure. Her mother is puzzled by her strange behavior. Mrs. Guffey gives her an A on her report, but asks why she did not choose one culture. The next week, Kate draws a stunning, accurate portrait so real that her teacher goes to her home for a talk with Mrs. Silverton because she fears that Kate is delusional.

How will Kate prove her story? A mysterious visitor will provide the answer.

This e book is available on Smashwords. A paperback version can now be found on amazon. Recommended for children ages eight and up, but adults will love it as well.

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