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Pete Seeger's storysong Abiyoyo has delighted generations of parents and children. The tale of how a father with his magic wand and a boy with his music triumph over the giant Abiyoyo is based on a South African lullaby and folk story.
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Pete Seeger is the well-known folk singer, musician, and storyteller. He lives in Beacon, New York.From School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 3 The words in this story-song flow along with the same ease and naturalness as Seeger's well-known telling on the recording, Abiyoyo and Other Story Songs (Folkways, 1967). There are only minor changes in this version, and the style reflects an oral rather than a literary tradition as Seeger switches from past to present tense in the text. Seeger combines his sense of humor and drama to turn disturbing events to high-spirited fun, as a father and son, turned out by their neighbors as troublemakers, use the very objects that bother peoplethe boy's clinking-clonking ukelele and the father's magic wandto obliviate Abiyoyo, monster on the loose, and so come back into community favor. The tale contains levels of meaning and powerful metaphors for those who choose to pursue them. If Hays' oil-on-linen illustrations are not always successful, it may be that they seem too studied when matched with Seeger's spontaneous, colloquial style. For example, the father is a magician in the simplest sense, yet Hays renders a "magic shop" in the background, with doves, rabbits, silk hatsnot the stuff of most folk tales. In peopling the village, too, he seems to be laboring to make a global statement, surrounding the black boy and his father with people of all races, places, beliefs. His Abiyoyo is a shadowy, looming figure against the blood-red sky, at first a faceless force, growing larger, and finally a towering glaring figure full of terrible witless energy. What is surprising about this Abiyoyo is the lack of earthiness. He is not sinew and muscle, but an automaton with a metallic gleam, the huge overalls he wears seeming an incongruous folksy touch. Still, there are also some very fine illustrations here, and this is a book worthy of attention. It merits a wide audience. Susan Powers, Berkeley Carroll Street School, Brooklyn
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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