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The Talking Baobab Tree

by Nelda LaTeef

The Talking Baobab Tree is derived from a story the author heard while visiting a Wolof village in the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal. The story is in keeping with traditional Wolof tales which reveal a deep admiration for getting the better of a stronger, more powerful opponent. Wolof proverbs are blended into the story as are the Wolof words: Oubi (open) and jerry-jef (thank you).

The Wolof people make up forty percent of the population of Senegal and are celebrated for their oral tradition, sense of style, and hospitality. An often repeated saying among the Wolof is “Eat whatever you like but wear clothes that please others.” There are over ten million Wolof speakers, many of whom live in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania.

ISBN 9789988860387 | 40 pages | 280 x 216mm | Colour Illustrations | 2020 | Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana | Hardback

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"Her flowing prose seamlessly integrates new vocabulary in English (baobab) and Wolof, the language of the story’s origin. The beautiful acrylic, India ink, and collage illustrations capture the setting and the tone of the tale. The design is also inventive; in one delightful two-page spread, Johari slides down a sand dune, requiring readers to turn the book sideways. In another long illustration, a collage of gems fills the inside of the baobab. A rich, inventive rendering of a familiar folktale."

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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