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Songs from the Baobab: African Lullabies & Nursery Rhymes
Grosleziat, Chantal (compiler), Mindy, Paul (musical arrangements); Nouhen, Elodie (illus.) Songs from the Baobab: African Lullabies & Nursery Rhymes . Montreal: The Secret Mountain, 2011. $16.95 (pap), ISBN Paper 9782923163796 / 2923163796.

Note: A collection of rhymes and lullabies from Central and Western Africa, accompanied by a CD of 29 songs.

This delightful book was originally released in a French edition, which sold over 100,000 copies. It includes 29 songs from ten different Central and West African countries. The songs, found on an accompanying disk, are in eleven different languages. These songs present a dialog between mother and child, but are also performed by men, women, and children. The beautiful arrangements and illustrations add to the harmony of the entire enterprise.

The lullabies present a story. The story is enriched by the use of traditional instruments, indigenous to the locale of the song. The songs are in the original language but translated into English and presented with the origin of each song, presenting an appealing package to the reader.

The work is directed at an audience of 3-5 year olds. However, it has a much broader appeal. Its cross-rhythms and clever rhymes appeal to adults as well as the very young, perhaps for different reasons. The older generations will remember their own efforts at soothing their own children. The younger will relate to their own soothing by their parents, perhaps. In any case, the book and disk are delightful and worth having in one's own library.

Published in Africa Access Review (March 20, 2012)

Copyright 2012 Africa Access

Rating: HR Grade: P / E Type: Book

Reviewed by: Frank A. Salamone Iona College and University of Phoenix

Subject: Central and Western Africa / Music / Nursery Rhymes / CABA Notable