The Honey Hunters

Francesca Martin, Author, Francesca Martin, Illustrator
Francesca Martin, Author, Francesca Martin, Illustrator Candlewick Press (MA) $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56402-086-4
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-56402-276-9
Prebound-Sewn - 24 pages - 978-0-606-05877-3
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-7445-3160-2
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This cumulative African folktale offers one explanation for why certain animals in the wild don't get along. Many years ago, so the story goes, all creatures lived in harmony--until the day that they decided to follow a young honey guide along the trail to sweet, tasty treasure. As the hungry herd begins to share the honeycombs, appetites get carried away. Violence and chaos ensue, suggesting the hunter-predator relationships--antelope vs. leopard, zebra vs. lion--that exist today. Martin's text combines elements of both folk tale and myth with an agreeable just-so tone. The use of repetition--the honey guide's call, the names of the growing caravan of animals--helps to heighten the drama while it adheres to a familiar literary style. Verdant watercolors alternate cool, lush jungle scenes with brighter depictions of sun-baked African landscapes; indigenous flora and fauna crowd the carefully detailed backgrounds. An additional visual treat are the pastel, folk art-inspired borders on each page, designed and painted by Helen Read. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)