cover image The Village of Round and Square Houses

The Village of Round and Square Houses

Ann Grifalconi. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-32862-3

Tos is an actual village, on the side of an inactive volcano in Central Africa. It is the village in the book's title, where women dwell in round thatch-roofed huts and men live in square ones. This book tells the story of how the houses were so designated, in the aftermath of the volcano releasing its full fury on the village. Grifalconi effortlessly embroiders the customs of the village into her melodious narration. The author, who has illustrated over 50 children's books, including Lucille Clifton's Everett Anderson books, here illustrates her own tale, told to her by a young girl who grew up in Tos. The resting purple volcano, suddenly erupting into orange; the eerie orange sun; the villagers covered with ash; the purple and orange skies; the dense, lush junglesall are captured beautifully by Grifalconi's art. (48)