- The Magic Bojabi Tree by Dianne Hofmeyr
Drought has hit the African plains, wiping out all vegetation except for one lush fruit tree. A vigilant python encircles its trunk, permitting a taste of the fruit only to those who know the tree’s name. Hungry and desperate, Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Monkey, and Tortoise decide to seek the answer from the king of the jungle. One by one they journey to the lion, learn the name of the tree, and promptly forget it as they travel home. All that is, except Tortoise, who makes up a clever rhyme to remember “Bojabi.” Ideal for storytimes, this African folktale (with source note) makes effective use of repetition and invites melody to engage listeners. Grobler’s line and watercolor illustrations employ slender, edgy lines that give the animals a sophisticated goofiness, while the subtle earth-toned palette, mostly spots and planes against the white background, is enlivened by amusing detail and the injection of text into the art. Simple and celebratory, this story will fare especially well among a group who loves proving all they can remember.