Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Turtle's Shell by Vincent Eke

Seriously, I just really like Vincent.  He just makes me smile.

Actually, not only do I like him, but I'm impressed with his thinking behind the children's book series he's working on.  It's African folklore.  In the book, all the children draw around the fire to listen to an important moral tale from one of the village elders.  As the children are drawn into the tale, so is the reader.

First, I love that this is a fresh look at children's storytelling.  Folklore is a lost art and I'm glad to see someone reviving it.  The book isn't dumbed down at all.  For very young readers, it's a great story to share with them.  For older readers, they can easily keep up with the words and the meaning behind them.

Another thing I love involves the illustrations.  The front is simply, yet beautifully decorated.  Inside, we find warmth and calm, color wise, but we also find plain old black and white pictures so that children can draw the tale to look the way they want it to.  I think this is pure genius.  It's multi-purpose story-telling at its best.

The Turtle's Shell is a tale about learning how to share and honesty.  All of the forest animals are going hungry and they realize the humans have food, so they set on a mission to forage some food from them.  The agreement is that they'll bring back whatever they find and share it with all the other animals.  Trouble ensues when the animals noticed that the turtle and his family are growing stout, while the rest of them continue to wither away.

I was a little concerned about what the level of violence would be, but Vincent handled it beautifully.  There are definite repercussions to the turtle's actions, and  violence is planned, but it turns out nicely.  I don't think it's enough to frighten small children, but definitely enough to make them stop and think about what being selfish could cause to happen.

At the end of the story, the children themselves tell you what they learned from the tale.  I found this entire story captivating and motivational.  I love the sense of morality and the ease with which the tale is told.  I love the sense of family and comeraderie that is built here.

Originally, Vincent had planned to do an entire book series with the same premise behind them, and I'm sincerely hoping that he'll continue on with that.  He has my vote and full support :)

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