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Williams, Karen; Catherine Stock (illus.) Galimoto. : Lothrop, 1991. $12.88, ISBN 0-688-08790-6.

Note: Walking through his village in Malawi, a young boy finds the materials to make a special toy.

In eastern and southern Africa one often sees young boys fashioning scrap wire into ingenious little vehicles. This charming book captures the mood and spirit of this hobby. The setting is a small town in Malawi. The main character is Kondi, a young boy who wants to make a wire vehicle or galimoto like the big boys. As Kondi journeys about town in search of materials for his galimoto, we see snatches of town life. The town features a variety of housing, including picturesque thatched houses, sturdy brick dwellings, and houses with latticed windows and corrugated iron roofs. The adults in Kondi's town engage in a variety of activities such as fishing, marketing, storekeeping, and maize grinding. The muted water-colored illustrations which provide our window into Kondi's world are well done. One criticism voiced by a resident of the area was the uniform complexion of the people. Malawians come in different hues, a fact ignored by the illustrator. Another reviewer feared American children may assume incorrectly that children from Malawi and other parts of Africa don't have access to manufactured toys (see review in Our Family, Our Friends, Our World). My experiences with the book, however, mitigate against this criticism. Children have uniformly responded in a positive and enthusiastic manner to this story. They are fascinated by the wire cars and are eager to make their own.

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Rating: R Grade: P Type: Book

Reviewed by: Brenda Randolph, Africa Access

Subject: Malawi / Fiction / Southern Africa / Urban settings / City and town life