cover image Kele's Secret

Kele's Secret

Tololwa M. Mollel, Tolowa M. Mollel. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-67500-6

Eggs mark the spot--the secret spot where Kele the chicken has been laying, that is. Mollel and Stock set up a lighthearted game of detective in this account of a boy's adventure on his grandmother's coffee farm in Tanzania. Young Yoanes always finds the hens' eggs, even when they are in unusual places, so he feels confident that he can track Kele to her hideaway. But when Kele heads into a creepy, isolated shed, Yoanes wonders if he's brave enough to continue his surveillance. Mollel's (The Orphan Boy) spare text, narrated by Yoanes, gently balances the carefree adventures of boyhood with the drama of facing one's fears. His descriptions of the Tanzanian landscape and some of the chores that keep a farm running are likely to intrigue young readers. Stock's (Tap-Tap) on-site research shows in her fluid, detailed watercolors of contemporary eastern Africa. Stone and tin sheds, women and children in colorful cotton clothing tending the fields, lush coffee bushes and other indigenous trees provide a clear sense of place. An autobiographical note and a glossary of the few Arusha Maasai words sprinkled throughout the text appear on the final page. Ages 4-8. (June)