cover image My Rows and Piles of Coins

My Rows and Piles of Coins

Tololwa M. Mollel. Clarion Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-75186-2

The creators of Big Boy place this story of a resourceful and thoughtful boy in the 1960s Tanzania of Mollel's childhood. Saruni receives coins from his mother for helping her to cart goods to town each market day. His goal is to save enough money to buy a bicycle to transport these loads more efficiently and to run other errands for his parents. While his savings accumulate in his ""secret money box,"" the child determinedly practices on his father's bike, first learning to ride without falling and then to balance a load of vegetables on the bike. One day Saruni feels he has collected enough money to buy a new bike, but his hopes are dashed by the scornful laughter of the bicycle vendor. Luckily, the boy's father announces that it is just the right amount of money to purchase his bicycle (and then returns the money to his son). In an ending that makes this selfless hero an inspiration to readers, Saruni contemplates using his savings to buy a cart to pull behind his bike, to further lighten the loads his mother must carry. Lewis's engaging and lifelike paintings convincingly portray a range of images and emotions, including the verdant Tanzanian landscape and bustling marketplace, and, most affectingly, the strong bond between this boy and his loving parents. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)