cover image A Wave in Her Pocket: Stories from Trinidad

A Wave in Her Pocket: Stories from Trinidad

Lynn Joseph. Clarion Books, $15 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-395-54432-7

Trinidad native Joseph ( Coconut Kind of Day ) draws on her childhood for this seamless anthology. Told in the idiomatic, lilting cadences of the West Indies, the stories--some scary, some funny, some poignant--beg to be read aloud. Readers meet many of the exotic characters of Trinidad's rich oral tradition, including the soucouyant (a witch who becomes a ball of flame at night), the ligahoo (a being able to change shape at will) and the ghosts or jumbies who lurk in graveyards. Tantie (``great-aunt'') is the storyteller whose narrative unfolds through the eyes of grandniece Amber. In a fitting finale that is at once touching and deliciously hair-raising, Tantie passes Amber the storytelling torch--as well as a necklace of bright beads given to her by Papa Bois, a forest spirit with cloven hooves. Rich in island atmosphere, Pinkney's ( The Ballad of Belle Dorcas ) scratchboard illustrations put the crowning touch on this superbly crafted collection, which deserves a place on any folklore shelf. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)