cover image Who Made Me?

Who Made Me?

Shirley Tullock. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8066-4045-7

HIn this striking British import, Zanele, an African girl, sets out to answer the title question, ""Who made me?"" Her journey spans the length of a day, taking Zanele into the bush beyond her village as she seeks illumination from seven special friends: Lion, Giraffe, Baboon, Eagle, Zebra, the Honey-guide Bird and Elephant. Each responds with self-referential descriptions of Zanele's creator ("" `Who made you?' growled Lion. `It was someone just like me. Someone very powerful and courageous. A bit like a king, I suppose' ""). Just when the structure seems obvious, Tulloch loosens it. Zanele understands that she has been given seven good answers, and wonders which of them is the correct one; Elephant tells her, ""Sometimes there are seven answers to one question,"" but Elephant's subsequent whispered explanation goes unreported here. That Tulloch allows the answer to Zanele's question to remain metaphorical testifies to a well-placed trust in the vitality of symbolism; readers have been given enough clues to find meaning in this open conclusion. The art matches the text in its mood--it, too, is reverent but childlike. Mixed-media illustrations combining paints with delicate cut-paper work, they capture the awe-inspiring vastness of the African landscape as well as the intimacy and warmth of Zanele's relationship to her homeland and her seven friends. Welcoming and insightful, this book can be appreciated by readers at either end of the target audience. Ages 3-8. (Jan.)