Somewhere in Africa (Picture Puffins)

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9780140562422: Somewhere in Africa (Picture Puffins)

A look at life in an African city for a young boy describes the busy streets, the songs of the fruit vendors, the street musicians, and sights and people not unlike those in American cities.

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From School Library Journal:

PreSchool-Grade 2-- Ashraf, a South-African boy of mixed race, lives not in the Africa of lions, crocodiles, and giraffes, but in a noisy bustling city. The only place he has seen these animals is in a library book. Readers follow the boy as he leaves his home in the old slave quarter and, book in hand, visits his favorite haunts on his way to the library. This offering is a joyous celebration of central Cape Town and its people: the flower sellers, the fruit seller, the musicians with their marimbas and African drums. Ashraf's independence and confidence, and his strong sense of connection to the city, are evident in both text and illustrations. Maritz's paintings, with their broad, powerful brush strokes, intense primary colors, and childlike perspective, have immediate visual appeal. The blue skies, astonishingly yellow sea, and red mountains give one a sense of extreme summer heat. Tall skyscrapers (one with a helicopter on its roof), a busy traffic intersection, and a highway overpass leave no doubt as to the modernity of this city. However, none of these details overwhelm Ashraf, who remains the central focus of the illustrations. The pleasant librarian projects a positive image. A book for group sharing, beginning readers, and social-studies classes, where it should help dispel any lingering myths about the omnipresence of lions and crocodiles in Africa. --Susan Giffard, Englewood Public Library, NJ
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Ashraf lives in Africa, but not in the stereotypical place with lions, crocodiles, or zebras; his home (like the authors' and illustrator's) is Cape Town, depicted here as much like any big city, though there are some unusual things for sale and the unique music of Africa can be heard in the streets. There's also a library, where Ashraf finds his favorite book--the one that tells about the lions he has never seen, lazing in the sun. Gently, the authors make their important point, focusing on Ashraf's real world and the amusing irony of his finding the jungle just as exotic as his American counterparts do. Maritz's illustrations, his first, are outstanding; using broad brushstrokes and slightly muted colors in vibrant juxtapositions, he brings Ashraf's city to life in paint while representing those other landscapes more impressionistically. No poverty is shown; most of the faces are dark, including the librarian's, but this book is not about racial issues. A salutary glimpse of life's similarities in South Africa. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Mennen, Ingrid, Daly, Niki
Published by Puffin (1997)
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