cover image Africa Brothers and Sisters

Africa Brothers and Sisters

Virginia Kroll. Four Winds, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-751166-6

When Jessie asks his father, ``Why don't I have any brothers and sisters?'' Daddy replies, ``You do . . . dozens of brothers, hundreds of sisters, thousands of Africa brothers and sisters.'' What follows is not so much a narrative as a loosely structured social studies lesson in the form of a dialogue. In their discussion of 21 African tribes, father and son focus on distinguishing characteristics: one tribe is known for its watertight baskets; another, for making fantastical wooden masks; and yet another for raising ``the biggest, orangest, most delicious yams in the world.'' Though this book doesn't have the same joy and emotional resonance of Kroll's Masai and I , it offers easily digestible information (the protagonist's chipper interchange, in fact, keeps the material from becoming dry and didactic). A map of Africa at book's end helpfully indicates the various countries and their respective tribes. Similar in format to Masai and I , the softly colored, slightly hazy artwork framed by brightly variegated borders juxtaposes Western scenes with depictions of the individual tribes in their native settings. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)