cover image The Iroko-Man: A Yoruba Folktale

The Iroko-Man: A Yoruba Folktale

Phillis Gershator. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06810-6

Using a somewhat more formal approach than that found in Tukama Tootles the Flute (see review above), Gershator here retells a Yoruba folktale about a ``man-spirit'' who inhabits the iroko tree. He is both fearsome (anyone who looked at him face-to-face ``went mad and died'') and capable of working great good. So, when a Nigerian village suffers many years without a single childbirth, the women appeal to the ogre-god, promising fruit and livestock from their farms. The woodcarver's wife, having no such means, desperately pledges her first-born. The Iroko-man, true to type, does eventually demand the child, but the woodcarver, also true to type, devises a plan that pleases everyone. In her first children's book, Kim creates sumptuous compositions of painted cut papers. Radiant backgrounds and such details as regional textile patterns suffuse her spreads with light and motion. A visual feast. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)