Sunday, October 25, 2009

Handa's Surprise

Handa's Surprise

by Eileen Browne

Ages : 3 - 6

Handa's Surprise by Eileen Browne is the account of Handa, a little Kenyan girl, who decides to surprise her friend Akeyo by taking a basket of delicious fruits for her. As she walks through the tall grass, various animals - a monkey, an ostrich, an antelope, a zebra, a giraffe, an elephant and a parrot pick the fruit up one by one from the basket on her head. Unaware of the fact that her basket is getting empty, she wonders all along which fruit her friend will like best. As she approaches Akeyo's village, a pile of tangerines land in her basket by pure coincidence. When she reaches her destination Akeyo looks at the basket and exclaims that tangerines are indeed her favourite. Handa is surprised too!

Browne also created a counting book based on Handa - called Handa's Hens. In this book, Handa and her friend Akeyo help granny look for her hen Mondi. As they hunt up and down around the village they come across various creatures - two fluttery butterflies around the hen house, three stripy mice under the grain store, four little lizards under the pots,.. till they discover Mondi inside a bush with ten brand-new chicks!

The illustrations of rural Kenya are gorgeous and full of bright colours and take the reader on an enchanting journey around a Kenyan village. Both stories will appeal to children of all ages - my parents liked them so much that they'd read them over and over to my children!


Aline Pereira/ said...

This sounds like a lovely book. Thanks for featuring it! Another incredible story set in Kenya is Lynee Barasch's "First Come the Zebra," about two boys from rivaling tribes who overcome stereotypes and traditional tribal hostilities to be friends. I would also like to point readers to the work of Ghanaian award-winning author/illustrator Meshack Asare. For those unfamiliar with his work, "Sosu's Call", about a young boy who refuses to be identified by his disability, would make for a great introduction.

Thanks for all the offerings so far! I'm enjoying this first installment of CROCUS!

Sheela said...

Sounds like a simple and delightful book, thanks Choxbox!

Tharini said...

Wow. How cute. Poor Handa! BUt what a nice surprise at the end!

Praba Ram said...

Chox - a neat Kenyan treat. A warm story on friendship. Adorable little Handa! Nice way to introduce African animals to little ones. Will surely check Handa out.

Thanks, Aline for dropping by! Nice African recommendations. Will have to make a nice list for folks. We love Paper Tigers! :-)

utbtkids said...

At the mention of Africa, I am sold.

Giraffe, monkeys, my children would be in line next to me, I am sure :)

Meera Sriram said...

Cute Choxbox! I love the simplicity of the story. I can alread imagine my daughter giggling all the way with Handa:) Will try to check it out.

Anusha said...

we love animals around here! especially sneaky ones :) this will be a hit.

sathish said...


reminds of another interesting story from Africa called "Beautiful Bananas" where a wonderful girl called Beatrice goes through the forest to meet her grandpa along with a bunch of bananas.

It is a big fav of sooraj and shraddha for a long time.

ranjani.sathish said...

Lovely pick Choxbox ! I think it will appeal a lot to my daughter who is 3 years.

Btw I noticed at the top of the picture that it is a "Candlewick" publication. We have a few books from their press too and usually they are very good ! Simple stories with attractive pictures. Some of the books that we have are - Tom Rabbit, Where's my teddy?

Choxbox said...

Aline: Thanks, it is indeed a treasure!
And also thanks for that list.

Sheela: It is. Beginner readers will love it as the text is very simple as well :)

T: :)) The first time I read it I was a bit alarmed till I reached the end - the twist is superb! And the twist is not in the text, it is just in the pictures.

Praba: Do let me know when you get it, and yes lets compile a list of these lovely suggestions.

utbt: They'll love the The Carnival of Animals then!

Meera and K's Mom: Do let me know what you and your kids think, okay?!

Sathish/Ranjani: We should arrange a joint book-redaing where the kids can swap books and share! And btw, both the books are available in Bangalore.

Fruit Basket Review said...

Sounds like a great book. My wife just got back form Kenya a few months back and I'm sure she will enjoy reading this book to our children. She mentioned how poor and hungry the children were over there and a fruit baskets of tangerines would definitely be a treat.

utbtkids said...

Chox, this book is being read, re-read, re-re-read.... You get the idea.

Over the year, I am seeing it being read to both the children - being read by the older one - the older one reading it to the younger one - the younger one 'pretend reading' it from her memory.

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