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The Matatu

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  91 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Kioko had been watching the matatus come and go for as long as he could remember. But today, for his fifth birthday, he climbs aboard one with his grandfather. As the matatu pulls away from the market, the village dogs chase after them. When Kioko asks his grandfather why the dogs always bark and chase after matatus, his grandfather tells him an entertaining tale about a d ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 2012 by Orca
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Oct 04, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: libs-642
For his fifth birthday Kioko’s grandfather gives him the special gift of a ride on an African bus, the Matatu. Along the way he tells Kioko a folktale about the animals they encounter on the ride and creates memory for Kioko and himself.

This book is a re-telling of an African folktale and could be used to illustrate the common properties of folktales in an English lesson demonstrating the importance of the oral tradition in telling folktales. (Virginia SOL 2.1 The student will demonstrate an und
Jessica Henry
Apr 25, 2014 Jessica Henry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
Text to Text:
"Matatu" made me think about the presentation that we watched this week by Chimamanda Adichie and her message and caution of only having a single story about a culture. Even though it is only a fiction work, "Matatu" provides some non-fiction information about living in East Africa. Using this book as a part of a text set if one was studying different cultures would be beneficial.

(Remembering) Who are the main characters of this story?
(Understanding) Summarize the story.
(Applying) W
Apr 02, 2013 NebraskaIcebergs rated it really liked it
Set in East Africa and inspired by a Kamba folktale, The Matatu is a fun and educational picture book by author Eric Walters. For his fifth birthday, Kioko takes his first ride on a matatu (privately-owned bus transportation in East Africa) with his grandfather. Soon his grandfather is telling him to watch for goats, sheep, and dogs. As Kioko obediently looks out the window, his grandfather shares a folktale about why the dogs chase the mini-bus, the goats run away, and the sheep stand still. Ev ...more
James Daniels
Apr 07, 2015 James Daniels rated it really liked it
A excellent old fashion literary story,a boy, a grandfather, and a bus, " The Matatu." The grandfather teaches his grandson about the bus as well as the animals seen along the way. The dog, the goat, and the sheep and why they behave the way they do when the bus rides by. Folktales were the way parents and grandparents taught their children in the days of old, preserving the history and life of the people.
The illustrator works with cheerful colors and life-like human figures that is one step
Feb 15, 2014 Maureen rated it it was amazing
Winner of a Smithsonian Africana Award in 2013, this folktale is the product of a writer who spends time in Kenya and an illustrator who was born in Ghana. Walters and Campbell have both travelled on decorated busses, "...more than a vehicle...filled with unexpected turns and risks." Walters marveled at animals' reactions to the matatu bus during his rides and was rewarded with an old tale: why the dogs chase, the goats avoid, and the sheep ignore the passing matatu. The author has created the c ...more
Lots of things to like here: a fresh folktale (I always appreciate folktales that incorporate contemporary objects or themes because it shows that folklore isn't only something from long ago), and a peek at something familiar in a different setting. I also love how the story was told: first the grandfather had his grandson look and observe the animals' behavior, then (when he knew his grandson had the context for the tale) he told the story, but then asked his grandson to figure out the "punchli ...more
May 23, 2012 Mallory rated it really liked it
Inspired by a Kamba folktale this is the story of five-year-old Kioko who is taking his first bus trip to Machakos to celebrate his birthday. In Africa, the bus is called a matatu, and he has always been awed by them. While on the trip his father tells him a folktale about some of the things Kioko sees outside – a dog, a goat, and a sheep, and how they used to ride the Matatu.

The relationship between Kioko and his grandfather is inspiring, and the story is humorous and informative of another cu
Apr 01, 2012 Barbara rated it liked it
When five-year-old Kioko finally has the chance to accompany his grandfather aboard the matatu to Machakos, he is excited by the bus ride but also curious about how long the trip will take. His grandfather tells him an African folktale about a dog, a goat, and a sheep explaining their behavior as the bus nears them. Apparently, Kioko was paying attention since he pays for the goat's fare at the end of the ride. The affection between the grandfather and his grandson and the amusement of the other ...more
Sarah Nolet
Nov 25, 2012 Sarah Nolet rated it really liked it
This book was about a trip that a five year old boy took with his grandfather on "The Matatu" or the bus. I thought it was interesting that the book was set in an African culture. I think that kids would really like the story because of the cultural differences it presents. You could use this book as a way to indirectly teach about intercultural literature. Also, at the end of the book, there is a note from the author that explains the cultural differences. The illustrations were very bright and ...more
Aug 03, 2012 Arlen rated it really liked it
This is a very charming story from East Africa. Lovely artwork, but especially attractive are 2 rich central characters - a young boy on his first ride out of town on public transportation along with his grandfather. All the characters are blessed with a sense of humor and play. It's clear everyone in the world of this story has an imagination and enjoys putting it to good use. Congratulations and best wishes to both this author and the painter who illustrates the work.
The Styling Librarian
The Matatu by Eric Walters, illustrations by Eva Campbell - After reading this book with author notes, I don't know if I'd be brave enough to ride a matatu! Great little story, love the grandfather and grandson portion of the story. Quite cute. Also I appreciate the glimpse into the life of a community with people coming in and out constantly.
Kate Hastings
Apr 26, 2012 Kate Hastings rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Grades 2-4. Great for an Africa/Transportation comparative unit. Matatus are the special buses East Africans use to travel long distances. Contemporary characters and a nice alternative to a straight folktale.
Two pleasant aspects to this story: the warm interaction between boy and grandfather, and the folkloric story grandfather tells about why the goats, sheep and dogs chase act they way they do around the matatu (bus).
This is a cute picture book that shares a tale from Kenya. There is a reason the dog chases the matatu (bus), the goat runs away and the sheep pays no mind. A grandfather tells the story to his grandson as they share a ride on a matatu.
Edward Sullivan
Apr 11, 2012 Edward Sullivan rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books, africa
Appealing depiction of a grandfather-grandson relationship.
Jul 20, 2013 Harriette rated it really liked it
This picture book, which retells a Kenyan folktale, is colourful and delightful. It is also a great way to introduce a form of transportation most children in North America have never heard of.
Aug 22, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Oil on Canvas
Groaned a little when I saw the length of the text, but the long prose was engaging
Illustration style was a little thin for my tastes.
Feb 07, 2013 Faith added it
i think its about a ride places and adventure they stop at where there are going
Sep 10, 2012 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: pb, storytime
the pictures might be off putting to some children. there is a story within a story. This is inspired by a folktale. maybe good for an older children storytime.
Feb 18, 2016 Jennybeast rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, africa
Nice storytelling, set in contemporary Africa. A little bit of things that go, a little bit of fable.
Danielle Boccio
Danielle Boccio rated it it was ok
Feb 24, 2016
Sarah Horner
Sarah Horner rated it really liked it
Feb 12, 2013
Esther May
Esther May rated it really liked it
Sep 05, 2012
L.K. Sukany
L.K. Sukany rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2016
Crystal rated it liked it
Aug 11, 2012
Amee rated it really liked it
Jun 29, 2012
Susan Earle
Susan Earle rated it liked it
Sep 30, 2012
Crystal rated it really liked it
Apr 08, 2013
Jen rated it did not like it
Aug 29, 2016
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Eric was born in Toronto in 1957, which makes him "real old". But, as Eric says, "Just because I have to grow old doesn't mean that I have to grow up!" In his many roles as parent, teacher, social worker, youth sports coach and writer he is in constant contact with children and young adults. He draws from these experiences and feels that this helps him to capture the realistic interaction between ...more
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