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Sikulu and Harambe by the Zambezi River

Allfolktales.com reviews Sikulu and Harambe by the Zambezi River: An African version of the Good Samaritan Story, by Kunle Ogunneye and illustrated by Bruce McCorkindale.

I first learnt about this book when I received an email from the author early in 2008. I wrote about it on the blog even though at the time, I had not read the book. I visited the book's website and was won over by the illustration. My opinion since I wrote that blog post remains the same - it is heartening to see children's books on African folktales with great illustrations being published. As I have written in the past, I am still of the opinion that the lack of good illustrations in the African story books I had growing up have contributed to the difficulty in recalling the stories.

The book is based on a common theme in West African folktales - where good deeds are rewarded. Such stories often end with punishment for the bad deed (or refusal to do the good deed), but Sikulu and Harambe by the Zambezi river focus on the good deed and reward angle. It describes how these two characters, Sikulu and Harambe were rewarded for helping an old woman. The moral of the story is re-emphasized at the end of the book with a few questions for young minds to mull over.

The story is a simple one, brought to life by the beautiful illustration and the cultural lessons woven into the story. I read this book online to my 5 year old daughter and she assured me that she always help others when they need her help.

Here's a video of the author reading the book.

Even though we have read this book online, it is one I will definitely buy for our book collection.


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