Api and the Boy Stranger

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9780803712218: Api and the Boy Stranger

While waiting for the celebrations to begin, young Api sits beneath a mango tree, listening to the feast-day sounds. Suddenly all is silent, for a strange boy has entered the village asking for food. Rhythmic text and lush paintings provide an evocative look at the birth of an African village where people still honor the legend this tale is based on. Full color.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-3-An Ivory Coast village explains its origins through this story of kindness and cruelty. While preparations for a feast are underway, a thin "boy stranger" arrives and begs for food. He is refused by all but Api's family. On the next feast day, the little girl's peers hurt her during a game. Again the stranger appears, is refused by the others, but fed by Api's parents. The third time, after the child is again tricked and hurt by her peers, the stranger warns her family to move away. They invite the others to come along, but no one else leaves. From a distance, the family sees their village being destroyed by a volcano. The bamboo grove where they begin anew eventually becomes a village, one that is "always willing to share its food with strangers." The characters are depicted attractively, but the chief visual interest in the otherwise rather static pictures is the West-African designs on their clothing. These vibrant patterns punctuate the pages, just as onomatopoeia punctuates the text. The absolute, ruthless justice of the story and the simple, unsophisticated illustrations make for a book that rather starkly reflects its exotic source. For an equally moralizing but visually and textually richer look at a West African village today, try Pete and Mary Watson's The Market Lady and the Mango Tree (Tambourine, 1994).
Patricia Dooley, formerly at University of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

This legend from the Ivory Coast takes the form of a cautionary tale, used to teach children to share their food. Young Api listens to the comforting rhythms of village women as they prepare a feast: "Tue, ta. Tue, ta," her mother pounds the foutou. "Ngub. Ngub," bubbles the sauce. "Pssssss. Pssssss , " chicken sizzles on the grill. The reverie is broken by the arrival of a stranger, " a very thin boy carrying a bowl." He is shunned by everyone except Api's mother, who gives him the largest foutou. He appears twice again, the final time warning people to leave the village before daybreak. Once again, only Api's family pays attention to the boy, feeding him and heeding his advice. As they travel, their village is engulfed by a fiery volcano, and the sounds of destruction cleverly repeat the cooking noises described earlier. Api's family establishes a new village, which "to this day is always willing to share its food with strangers." Newcomer Roddy's use of onomatopoeia enlivens the story, which is further enriched by a glossary and an author's note. Russell's ( One Smiling Grandma ) full-bleed pastels depict the beautiful, contradictory landscape, featuring both arid, sandy terrain and lush, verdant land. Festively patterned West African garments add splashes of color. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Penguin Group USA, Bergenfield, New Jersey, U.S.A., 1994. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Lynne Russell (illustrator). First Ediiton. First printing. Glossy pictorial hardcover. No DJ. Minimal shelfwear. In this Ivory Coast legend, Api and her family are repaid for their kindness to a stranger with a mysterious warning to go to the other side of the river Amman. Bookseller Inventory # 1461-22

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