The Singing Man: Adapted from a West African Folktale
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The Singing Man: Adapted from a West African Folktale

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  17 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A couple's youngest son is forced to leave his West African village because he chooses music over the more practical occupations of his brothers, but years later he returns to show the wisdom of his choice.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Holiday House (first published 1994)
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Gordon Pennington
A young man, Banzar, from West Africa becomes of age of manhood. It is his turn to take the manhood ceremony. He tells the elders he wants to be a musician. They tell his father that his choice is unacceptable and tell him to choose another line of work for the good of the village or be forced to leave. Banzar says he must leave. He meets an old, blind man named Sholo who is a musician. Sholo hears Banzar play, sees the great talent in him, and teaches him how to make a living as a musician. Sho...more
The Singing Man is based on a Nigerian folktale. Most African villages had a griot or praise singer, who sang about the history of the village, king, and chiefs of the village. The songs were passed from one praise singer to another to keep the tradition going in order to preserve the history of the African people.
After the initiation ceremony into manhood, three brothers from the city of Lagos must choose their life’s work. The first brother, Swanga, chose to be a farmer. The second brother,...more
Tessa Ann
This book is about three sons who reach adulthood and each one figures out what they want to do with their life. Taki wants to be a blacksmith, and Swanga wants to go farming, but Banzar wants to be a musician and because of it he gets banished from his village. He becomes friends with Sholo, who is a musician, and travels with him. Banzar becomes great in music and eventually goes back to his family to share his money with them. I really enjoyed this book, and I also think that children would l...more
With simple language and expressive color illustrations, “The Singing Man” tells a story about a prodigal son who goes off and makes good with his wonderful talent. Although this African folktale starts like certain European tales, with three brothers choosing their paths in life, there are no fairies, sprites or spirits to help the dreamy Banzar develop his talent. There are only human beings moved by the spirit of music to understand and praise his gift.

With illustrations of broad swaths of co...more
This story follows the West African Folktale where a young man decides to leave home and become a singing man, despite the disapproval of his family. I loved the images in this book and how it tied into the African setting. I feel this would be great to share with students because of the message that you can make your dreams come true and do the things you love as long as you show hard work and dedication. Overall, I loved this book because it was a great example of traditional literature and fo...more
A couple's youngest son is forced to leave his West African village because he chooses music over the more practical occupations of his brothers, but years later he returns to show the wisdom of his choice.
Overly photographic illustrations. I was bothered by the young man traveling for years but still wearing the same shirt.
Jan 11, 2014 Alma added it
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Interesting folklore retelling. Parts if the illustrations seemed very realistic, but overall not my taste.
Ruth Ellen
a good tale to do something that makes you happy and following your dreams.
Linda Costello
This book is a prodical son narrative set in West Africa. Really great.
1995 CSKing Illustrator Honor
it is very good
Sarah marked it as to-read
Jun 25, 2014
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