A KENYA CHRISTMAS

Tony Johnston, Author, Leonard Jenkins, Illustrator , illus. by Leonard Jenkins. Holiday $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1623-3

The unusual locale, genial storytelling and edgy, mixed-media art differentiate this Christmas tale. As he does every year, Juma wishes to see Father Christmas, who has never come to their remote village. (And why not, those who still believe in Santa may rightly ask.) But this year, rich Aunt Aida from Nairobi arranges for a villager to arrive on an elephant, dressed like Santa, and holiday magic ensues. Johnston's (The Ancestors Are Singing) colorful details, most notably Aida's pet cheetahs Pomp and Circumstance, camouflage an otherwise foreseeable plot. And Jenkins's (Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly) art—sturdy graphics built up of delicate layers of bold colors, along with dynamic portraits of both the human and animal characters—commands attention. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/22/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
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