by Isaac Olaleye
illus.by Frané Lessac
Boyds Mill Press/USA
Olaleye welcomes readers to the world of the African rainforest, where nature’s abundant green umbrella comes alive through alliteration and imagery. Here, residents make a spicy soup that makes their lips smack and eyes weep. They do laundry by the stream where the sun sucks the clothes “crisp dry”.
The smells of the marketplace, its colorful tents, the ebony sky, and children at play are all vividly described. As he did in Bitter Bananas (Boyds Mills, 1994), the poet gives youngsters an intimate look at the area’s lands and people. This time he uses eloquent free verse to share the simplicity and the complexity of his native Nigeria with an ease of expression that celebrates everyday life. Lessac’s full-page gouache illustrations, done in a folk-art style and bordered in Nigerian designs, provide a perfect complement to the appealing poetry. With rainforest units abounding, this book is a beauty that libraries should have.
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