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The Girl Who Married a Lion and Other Tales From Africa.

THE GIRL WHO MARRIED A LION AND OTHER TALES FROM AFRICA. Alexander McCall Smith. 1989/1999/2004. Various narrators. 3 tapes. 4.5 hrs. Recorded Books. 1-41930589-1. $49.75. Vinyl; content notes. JSA

Thirty-five brief folktales from Zimbabwe and Botswana are retold here by Smith, who collected many of the stories himself 20 years ago. As he says in the introduction, the stories contain the basic human emotions--jealousy, ambition, love, loyalty, and greed. The boundaries between the animal and human worlds are indistinct and fluid, but many contain humor and all exemplify a sense of community. Some of the titles tell it all: "Why Elephant And Hyena Live Far From People," "The Grandmother Who Was Kind to a Smelly Girl," "Hare Fools the Baboons," "How a Strange Creature Took the Place of a Girl and Then Fell into a Hole," "Beware of Friends You Cannot Trust," and "A Blind Man Catches a Bird."

Other titles are more intriguing: "Guinea Fowl Child," "Sister of Bones," "Milk Bird," "Children of Wax," and "The Girl Who Married a Lion." Characters include a cannibal, a talking guinea fowl, a wicked leopard who eats her own children, a bird that gives delicious milk, a greedy father who eats while his family starves, a nagging aunt who is eaten by a strange animal, a wife who could not work, a snail who wants to be a farmer, and a man with a tree growing out of his head.

The tales are read by five narrators who give this collection the full-voiced treatment with accents, which makes listeners feel they are in the African bush around a fire at night listening to an aged chief teaching his people. This is an excellent choice for any library interested in preserving an important oral tradition. Janet Julian, Teacher, Grafton, MA

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.
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Author:Julian, Janet
Article Type:Audiobook Review
Date:May 1, 2005
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