How the Ostrich Got Its Long Neck: A Tale from the Akamba of Kenya

Verna Aardema, Author, Marcia Brown, Illustrator Scholastic $14.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-590-48367-4
In an inspired pairing, Aardema (Misoso; Jackal's Flying Lesson, reviewed June 26) and Caldecott Medalist Brown's (Stone Soup) pump up the energy in this animated Kenyan pourquoi tale. Suggesting the oral tradition from which the story comes, Aardema intersperses her narration with exotic, rhythmic sounds (``Kudu galloped away, ka-PU-tu, ka-PU-tu, ka-PU-tu!''). ``Long long ago, when the earth was set down and the sky was lifted up,'' a crocodile with a toothache persuades a kind but foolish ostrich to pull out the offending tooth. When Crocodile's hunger proves mightier than his dentistry needs, he chomps down on Ostrich's neck, stretching it dramatically before the bird finally escapes. Right in step with this well-paced tale are Brown's vigorous, scribbly compositions of watercolor and markers. Raffish and bold, they are as spirited as the tale itself. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
Genre: Children's
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