Thirteen brief, playful poems give us a glimpse at life in rural Tanzania, including its offshore island, Zanzibar.
Spiced with Swahili words, Grimes’s verses introduce a jam-packed bus, animals, foods, the marketplace, and several mischievous children. Her impressions are the result of a year she spent in this East African country on a research grant, yet there is a universal appeal too, as when a child burns his tongue on hot peppers. Breezy pen-and-ink and watercolor sketches enliven the pages, with one beautiful watercolor painting of Mount Meru opening across the center spread. They reflect perfectly the activity and motion described in the poems, from people on safari to a “so-old man on a so-old bike” to a boy being chased by a free-roaming zoo lion. They even show the camels that were recently introduced to the Masai in Tanzania to help make their lives easier.
A list defining the Swahili words (with pronunciations) and a bare-bones map of the country complete this compelling package.(Poetry/picture book. 5-8)