Children's Lit Book Reviews

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Orphan Boy

By: Tololwa M. Mollel
Publisher: Sandpiper
Copyright: 1990
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Picture Book/Folk tale
Award: N/A

- Kirkus Review

Summary: There was once an old man that spent the majority of his evenings gazing into the stars, and it was said that he knew each star as if it was his own. One night, as he was gazing into the stars, he noticed that one was missing. The old man went on a search for the star and could find it nowhere. Eventually, a little boy ran up to him and declared that his name was Kileken and that he was an orphan looking for a home. Immediately, the old man's face grew excited because he never had any children and lived alone. He demanded that Kileken live with him. As days went by, Kileken and the old man grew extremely fond of each other. But it seemed as if Kileken was directly sent to the old man to lessen his burdens. Kileken would do one thing right after another. He would gather the cattle at night, fill the pitchers with water from the well, magically make it rain and, before the coming of a drought, make the old man's cattle fatter. The old man wanted to know the secret of Kileken, so he plotted to catch the young boy completing these miraculous acts. However, while completing one of these acts, Kileken turned around stared the old man right into the eyes, and the old man knew immediately that he had lost the trust of the young boy. Out of complete despair, the old man threw himself onto the ground, and then the young boy exploded, much like a star, back into the air, leaving the old man feeling lonely again. Onec the old man stood up again, he noticed that everything the young boy had completed had been completely reversed. That night the old man returned to looking at the stars and noticed that the star that was missing had returned to his spot. From then on, the old man called that star Kileken and it will forever be known as the little orphan boy who helped the old man.
Who would benefit from reading this book?: This is a great book and it teaches many great lessons such as responsibility, trust and character. The readability of the book is fairly easy for children from around grade three andabove to read and comprehend. This book is helpful when wanting to educate children about folk tales and legends from other countries.
What problems/conflicts could this book potentially cause? There are no problems or conflicts that would prevent anyone from wanting to read this book. It is a book that was written to inspire people.
My reaction: I think this book was well put together. The illustrations, which are done by Paul Morin, keep up with the text and are absolutely beautiful. I would share this book with anyone and recommend that all who are interested in learning African culture go to this book as a source of knowledge.
posted by Jon Dale at 5:15 PM


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