Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Fire Children

The Fire Children: A West African Folk Tale
Author- retold by Eric Maddern
Illustrator- Frane Lessac
Publisher- Frances Lincoln
Ages: 4-8yrs

This brightly illustrated, endearingly whimsical version of a West African creation myth, opens with the Sky God Nyame creating a basket -Earth, with trapdoors ( moon) and holes( stars) to approach it. Once as Nyame is admiring his work, he sneezes and a couple of curious 'fairies' end up on Earth.

Thus the first two spirit- people or the first man and woman - Kwaku Ananse and Aso Yaa -are 'born' on Earth. The two are lonely and decide to make children. Their raw material in this pursuit is clay and the little figures are baked in fire.

Nyama wants the couple to be on good behaviour and constantly checks on them. In their effort to hide their questionable activities the couple end up over-baking some of the clay figures and some are underdone, depending on the visits from Nyame. The resultant children are of different skin colours- ranging in hue from "cinnamon red" to "honey yellow" and "shell pink" to "plain white" and "midnight black".

All the children are loved by the couple , irrespective of colour and live and play together.

Once they grow up, they go to different lands and have children of their own and that is why the Earth is now filled with people of different colours.....But Kwaku Ananse and Aso Yaa love them all.

Warm and sweet, this West African tale is a story about equality and togetherness. It is sure to resonate among children and adults alike.

The richly coloured paintings of the green foliage, the peaceful animals, the radiant children, are inspired by West African masks and pottery.

The retelling of the West African tale about the creation of the world and all its different peoples is really easy to follow and captivating with a timeless message.

Book picture courtesy google.


sandhya said...

And after the deluge of books on water, here is Art's post on fire to light up the rest of our way!

Off to read the post now.:)

sandhya said...

Wow! What a wonderful (I think earlier in origin) version of the biblical tale of Genesis. Also loved the native wisdom of the tale on the origin of the races in Africa- as has been proved by the recent Geneologic project taken up by the National Geographic.

utbtkids said...

Over baking/under baking and hence different skin colors!!! How ossum is that! Loved the review Art.

Artnavy said...

It is a lovely tale and the illustrations are awesome!

Choxbox said...

wow. This is so you Art. Can totally imagine you finding a gem like this one sounds!

Meera Sriram said...

Put a hold for this one at the library! Love the subject and the hypothesis. Thanks Art!

Tharini said...

I love getting all these different perspectives on the beginnings of life on earth and how easy it is to indulge in this fantasy and tell it to children. What a sweet tale!

Praba Ram said...

yes, absolutely resonated with us when we took a peek into it before you did! Thanks for an endearing review. :)

Artnavy said...

Thanks all
I really wish I could lay hands on affordable stories from Africa for 6-8 yr olds

Our love affair began with some - Handa's hens and surprise given by Chox....

Poppins said...

I'm also a huge fan of african stories!

itchingtowrite said...

in perspective, our own draupadi is also a fire child

Meera Sriram said...

Art, so the book came home yday! R loved it. right from the setting of the whole 'basket' earth,'trapdoor' moon, 'hole' stars etc. P loved the portrayal of sky-god - he had an eye out for him on every page, to see if he was interrupting the couple:) The book was interesting, meaningful and amusing! Thanks!

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