Saturday, March 28, 2015

[BOOK REVIEW] Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion by Verna Aardema

Title:  Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion

Author:  Verna Aardema

Artist: Jerry Pinkney

Genre:  Africa / Animals / Folktale / Trickery

Year Published: 1989

Year Read:  2015

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+  (Nothing Objectionable)

Buy or Add onAmazon  //  Goodreads

I have read many African folktales and I had enjoyed a good majority of them!  So, imagine my surprise when I picked up a new children’s book called “Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion,” which is a Swahili tale retold by Verna Aardema along with illustrations by Jerry Pinkney and it is definitely one story that every child should read!

 The story starts out with the honey guide telling Rabbit about how it found some tasty honey in a calabash tree and Rabbit decides to invite her friends Bush-rat and Turtle to dine on the honey.  Unfortunately, the calabash tree belongs to Lion and he is not happy about having a couple of pests eating honey out of his tree!  So, in order to escape from being eaten by Lion and getting the honey at the same time, Rabbit and her friends end up tricking Lion into various situations that allow them to get the honey, making a monkey out of Lion!

Will Lion finally get Rabbit?

Read this book to find out!

 I have read many books written by Verna Aardema and I always enjoyed the way that Verna Aardema is able to retell many ancient folktales and make them so mesmerizing to read!  Well, this book was no different and I really loved the way that Verna Aardema was able to combine both humor and drama into this story as you laugh whenever Rabbit tricks Lion and get scared when you think that Lion will eat Rabbit.  I loved the fact that this story is reminiscent of Uncle Remus’ “Brer Rabbit” tales as both stories involves the main protagonist being a rabbit and tricking their enemies to get out of dangerous situations. Jerry Pinkney’s artwork is as usual gorgeous to look at as the characters look truly realistic and I always loved seeing the scenes where Lion is chasing Rabbit right after she tricks him in order to escape as they look truly vibrant.

Overall, “Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion” is another fantastic African folktale from the great mind of Verna Aardema and anyone who loves reading about African folktales should definitely check this book out!  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

[BOOK REVIEW] What's So Funny, Ketu? by Verna Aardema

Title:  What's So Funny Ketu?

Author:  Verna Aardema

Artist:  Marc Brown

Genre:  Family / Africa / Humor / Folktale

Year Published: 1982

Year Read:  1993

The Dial Press

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Threats of Death)

Buy or Add on:  Amazon  //  Goodreads

Now, everyone knows about Marc Brown’s famous “Arthur” series and how it managed to remain well-loved by children for many years, right?  Well, did you know that Marc Brown had illustrated an underrated children's book called “What’s So Funny, Ketu?” which was also written by Verna Aardema and was based off an old Nuer folktale?  I must admit that it took me awhile to get back around to this story since it was so unknown to the general children’s book community and I could not remember the title of this story at the time, but I will say that this story is definitely worth reading!

The story starts off with Ketu saving a snake from his dog and the snake wanted to reward Ketu for his kindness by giving him the gift to hear animals’ thoughts.  Of course, there is a price to this gift: if Ketu tells anyone what the animals are really thinking about, he will DIE!  So, Ketu promised not to reveal the animals’ thoughts to anyone, not even to his wife Nyaloti.  Unfortunately, this starts causing problems for Ketu as every time he hears the animals’ thoughts, he would start laughing uncontrollably to the point where he would startled anyone near him.  This then leads to his wife Nyaloti going to the Chief and telling the Chief that her husband is supposedly laughing at her since Ketu refuses to tell her what he is really laughing about.  The Chief then tells Ketu that if he does not tell everyone what he is really laughing about, then his wife Nyaloti and their baby daughter will have to go back and live with her father.

Will Ketu tell everyone his secret or will he risk dying in the process?

Read this book to find out!

Now, I have been a huge fan of Marc Brown’s works for many years now, mainly with his work on the “Arthur” series.  However, I was quite surprised that Marc Brown had done some gorgeous artwork for this unknown children’s book “What’s So Funny, Ketu?”  Marc Brown’s artwork is just gorgeous in this book as the characters look realistic and the African setting of this story is extremely vibrant to look at.  I also loved the fact that most of the colorings in the artwork are mainly done in red, brown, yellow, black and white colors as they really made the artwork truly stand out.  It is amazing how realistic and gorgeous Marc Brown’s artwork looks in this book compared to the artwork in the later “Arthur” books and I just cannot help but stare for many hours at these wonderful illustrations! Verna Aardema’s storytelling was truly wonderful in this book as I thought that this book was barrels of fun and I loved the way that Verna Aardema used various phrases such as “tu-e, tu-e, tu-e” and “pah, pah, pah” to describe the sound effects that each character makes such as laughing or patting a baby on the back.

Parents should know that there are some mentions of death in this book, mainly concerning that if Ketu tells anyone his secret, he will die.  Parents might want to discuss about the subject of death with their children before reading them this book.

Overall, “What’s So Funny, Ketu?” is a truly brilliant book for anyone who loves African folktales and underrated classics!  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the subject of death might be a bit upsetting for some children. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #13: Top 10 Books On My Spring TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

So today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is my top 10 Books on my Spring TBR List!

So, here's my top 10 Books on my Spring TBR List (in no particular order).

1.  Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Judging by the cover of this book, this is definitely one book that I want to check out and since I have been hearing so many good things about this book, I am definitely excited to read this book!

2. Revival by Stephen King

I have been a huge fan of Stephen King for years and now that he had just recently released a new book called "Revival," I am definitely looking forward to reading this book!

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I have been enjoying "The Assassin's Blade" so far and I can't wait to read the first book in Sarah J. Maas' "Throne of Glass" series!

4. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I have heard a lot of good things about this book and I also wanted to read another romance book for this year, so this book definitely sounds like something I would like to check out!

5. Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder

Another romance book that sounds really interesting and was strongly recommended to me by my lovely book friends and I am going to check this book out this Spring!

6. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Another romance book that was heavily recommended to me by my bookish friends and one that I am very interested in checking out!

7. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett

This was a book that really interested me as not only would this be possibly the first book I had read by Terry Pratchett, but also a book that introduces Neil Gaiman in this book, who happens to be one of my most favorite authors!

8. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

This book looks like it will be similar to Sarah J. Maas' "Throne of Glass" series and I am really looking forward to this book!

9. The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

"The Storyteller" definitely sounds like an interesting title, especially since I love fairy tales and folktales in general and this book seems like a fairy tale retelling of a famous fairy tale that I enjoy!

10. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

This seems like an interesting book and I am definitely looking forward to reading this book!

So, what are some books you are planning to read in Spring? Please feel free to comment below!

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Sunday Post Meme (23)

Hey everybody! I am participating in a book meme called the Sunday Post which is being hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer! The goal of this meme is to share news you have on various books and things you’ve read or received and also talk about what is coming up for your blog! Book hauls can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books and you can share these finds with other book bloggers!

 Hello everyone! Well, it's March and even though I'm enjoying the warm weather that is coming, I still haven't been able to read as much books this month as I did last month, so I'm hoping to rectify that soon and pick up on some new books!  Also, this is my 500th post for this blog, so I'm trying to figure out what would be a good way to celebrate this joyous occasion!

Feature and Follow Friday #4: March Madness! 

500 posts and still going!!! 

Well, that’s the Sunday News for today and I will have more news for the various books I’ve read in the near future!

Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2015.