Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MISOSO by Verna Aardema


adapted by Verna Aardema & illustrated by Reynold Ruffins

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1994
ISBN: 0-679-83430-3
Publisher: Knopf

A treasure. If there were any doubts about Aardema's (Anasi Finds a Fool, 1992, etc.) preeminence as a teller of African tales, this collection puts them to rest. Ten outstanding picture books could easily have been made from these twelve tales. Though not all are folktales in the strict sense of the term, their humor, imagination, and vivid imagery create a satisfying unity that is underscored by the brilliantly quirky illustrations and tasteful design. Aardema's mastery of onomatopoeia and rhythmic accumulation make you feel as if she's right there feeding the story into your ear. Choosing a favorite is hard: How about ``Half-a-Ball-of- Kenki,'' the world's only story starring a partial serving of cornmeal mush? or ``Kindai and the Ape,'' an Emo-Yo-Quaim version of the Androcles and the Lion legend? or maybe ``The Sloogey Dog and the Stolen Aroma,'' a Fang tale that may have originated in Egypt and has shown up in Jewish folklore? Misoso comes complete with maps, glossaries, and source information, but don't tell kids it's educational, and they'll never know the difference. Read this book once for the stories, twice for the illustrations, and a hundred times just for fun. (Folklore/Stories. 5-10)