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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,552 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Pete Seeger's storysong "Abiyoyo" has delighted generations of parents and children. The tale of how a father with his magic wand and a boy with his music triumph over the giant Abiyoyo is based on a South African lullaby and folk story.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published January 6th 2005 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1986)
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Community Reviews

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I actually first heard about this book when I watched an episode on “Reading Rainbow” that discussed the power of music. “Abiyoyo” is a South African lullaby and folk story by songwriter Pete Seeger along with illustrations by Michael Hays and it is about how a young boy and his father try to outsmart the monster Abiyoyo when the monster tries to threaten their village. “Abiyoyo” is a brilliant folktale that many children who love folk songs will definitely enjoy for many years!

Pete Seeger, mast
Ariel Tyler
Abiyoyo is a folk story from South Africa about a boy and his father that outwit the monster Abiyoyo. They both possess magic that is both delightful to others and terrifying. Eventually they get driven out of their village because of people fearing their magic. Soon the monster Abiyoyo shows up, terrorizing everyone, and it's only the father and son's magic that is able to save the day.

I like this book for all elementary grades because it's easy to understand, the pictures are engaging and ther
Ken Moten
Read this as a child and saw a youtube clip of Pete Seeger himself telling this story. So I guess this a bit of nostalgia for me.
Earworm. Abi-yoyo abi-yoyo. Also, scary monster on the horizon. Great for before bed :)
Eileen Goedert
The book, based on an African lullaby, was created by, the very white and aged, singer Pete Seeger. Seeger hand- picked illustrator Michael Hayes another white male to form the giant that eats a village's cows and sheep. Because the book is so captivating, I cannot fault the process that brought two white males to create, in book form, a beloved African lullaby. In fact, I conclude that it shows that art crosses cultural boundaries. Michael Hayes used African masks as a part of his inspiration i ...more
Salima Sikandar
Abiyoyo is a masterpiece written and sung by Pete Seeger with illustrations by Michael hays. The story is basically a South African lullaby folk story which tells about how a young child and his father with special talent outclass a big monster called as “ABIYOYO”.
The story begins with showing the young children and his father special talent which were not acceptable in the community and they were forced to leave their village. After the arrival of a monster in the village who threatened the vil
Kathryn Brunk
Abiyoyo is an interesting tale that has an underlining message. What I got from the message is to accept people for their difference and abilities, because someday their abilities may be of use to you. I felt that the book reminded me of a folk tale and I really like that about it. I think this could be a story that could be retold without the book and the song in it makes it tons of fun. The book may seem long but there are elaborate illustrations that make the book very appealing. The actual l ...more
Rosa Cline
This is a Reading Rainbow book that I was first 'exposed' to YEARS ago when my young children were watching Reading Rainbow. I remembered how much they enjoyed it so found it for my special needs teen age son and my young granddaughter.

It's a retelling of an old South African Lullaby and folk story. The illustrations just make the story as well! The story starts with a young boy and his ukulele, no one in the village appreciates him plucking on the instrument. His Dad has a magic wand and goes
A golden classic from when I was a sprout. Truly a treat to enjoy this book with my 6 year old boy. Excellent in every regard. Musical, multi-cultural, short & sweet.
During library school, there was a storytelling class I took, and one of my fellow students was a teacher getting her media specialist title. She performed this book with such flair as well as singing the song with a tune that she may have gotten from elsewhere or made up, I don't know. I do know that I now do this story - including the song - exactly the way she did it, and it is always a big hit with the five to eight set.
Audrie Estrada
Personal reaction:
I loved this book because it highlights on accepting everyone for who they are or what they bring to the table. It would be a very good book to promote no bullying. the illustrations are wonderful and the story is just as perfect. It warms my heart that there is such an awesome book like this.
I would use this as a book for 2nd and 3rd and even 4th graders because it highlights no bullying. Its a book that shows we should all be accepting of one another. The vocabulary a
Bryonna Potter
I really enjoyed this book and although I thought it didn't really have any type of lesson to be learned in it. It could be enjoyable for young children because it's a folk story involving magic, singing, and a giant monster. It was touching that the boy and his father worked together in order to take down the monster. I didn't think nor really like the fact that no one in the village liked the boy and his father until they did something that helped the people.

Learning Experience: After reading
Elines Flores
This book is fantastic and fun to read. When I discovered that the boy in the story plays the ukulele, I got super excited (because I am presently learning to play the ukulele myself)! Besides the simple text and engaging song that goes along with the story, the illustrations are what intrigued me the most (as usual). The story is adapted from an African folktale, which is depicted by the boy and his father. However, the town in which they lived (then were excommunicated from) portrayed a divers ...more
Angela Hutchinson
This is a book about a South African folktale. In this story, there is a little boy who plays a ukulele and his father who performs magic. The village people did not like the boy and his father lingering around town because his father was making things disappear. The people made them stay outside of the town. Then, Abiyoyo, a giant monster who the village people feared, reared his face one evening and the people were afraid. So, the father said that if he could get him to lay down, he could make ...more
Brigid Sullivan
This story is based off a South African folktale about a boy and his father. The father is a over zealous magician and the boy a novice ukulele player. The father and son are ostracized from their town after their magic and "music" playing disrupt the happiness of the townspeople. Shortly after, the terrible giant Abiyoyo appears in the town and terrorizes the townspeople. Only the father's magic and the boy's ukelele playing can defeat the giant.
This story could be used when discussing storyte
The main thing I remember about this book is that it came with a cassette, and the Abiyoyo song will still periodically get stuck in my head, even though I haven't heard it in 13 or 14 years. Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo. Abiyoyo, iyoyo, iyoyo!
Molly Toomey
Based on a South African Lullaby and Folk Story, there once was a little boy who played the ukulele. Everyone told the boy to go away. His father, however, got into even more trouble. He would use his wand to make things disappear. The town got sick of these too and made them live on the edge of town, away from others. Then one morning, the town woke to the ground rumbling. ABIYOYO WAS COMING! The giant creature headed towards the town. The little boy and his father came to the rescue! This book ...more
I loved this story when I was young and my mother would read it i think i really just enjoyed the lullaby. But now as an adult re reading the story I find a lot of educational value with the text. The onomatopoeia used in the story song really add to it. It definitely helps to have the tape or a really enthusiastic story teller.
Learning experience:When Abiyoyo first appeared in the story, he was shown as a large shadow in front of the sun. Have fun with your students by making shadow animals and
Hoang Shin
This is a story about a father-son duo that's always getting into trouble in their community for playing practical jokes on people. The father and son finally gets banished from town when the people become too fed up with their antics. One day a ferocious giant comes to town and threatens the safety of the people. The boy and his father rush back into town, and the boy uses his clever wits to outsmart the giant and save the day.
I would use this book to teach about voice. The book has dialogue t
My children love, love, love this story & song. We have it on cd in the car.
Bethany Zimp
Parental stars = 2
Children stars = 5

Abiyoyo joined our home as part of the monster tales phase. This folklore follows a father and son who are ostracized for their magical pranks and musical ability (strange combination). When the local sheep-eating monster appears the duo take out the beast and are welcomed back to the community. Not sure what the lesson was, but singing Abiyoyo is fun and my kid has the book memorized.

Final thought: I'm happy to celebrate ethnic differences, but these illustr
Elizabeth Brown
This story is unique because it is based off a South Africa folk tale. Which I believe makes it a great tool to use when discussing cultural awareness topics with young children. I also thought it was interesting how the people in the book appeared to be from different nationalities. I was not expecting to see people from different cultures in the book but which is also why I think it could be used for a cultural awareness topic. It is a good literature read also. I like how the book had a big w ...more
Damont Singletary
I remember the first time I had ever heard the story of Abiyoyo. It was on a episode of reading rainbow when I was a young child. This is your traditional african folk story written by Pete Seeger. This story allows a child to imagine through the use of a mythical creature. It makes a real world connection as the son and the father wok together to outsmart him. It also encourages a reader sound out words and use various strategies to identify the meaning or the feeling the writer is trying to co ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Juliette rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pre-K through 5th grade
For use in classrooms as a multicultural book.

Storyline: Interesting characters with growth and a plot that will keep students entertained.

Illustration: I gave this book a five star rating because of the storyline, but the illustrations are a little confusing. The culture is not clearly represented in the illustrations. There is a wonderful variety of skin tones as well as clothes and hair styles, but as far as culturally accurate...I should have removed a star for this in a review of a multicul
Comfort Olajide
Oct 31, 2012 Comfort Olajide rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ms Jane Hyche
Recommended to Comfort by: My Instructor
Abiyoyo, I read this book, it was a fantastic South African folktale (bed time story for children). It was all about a little boy and his father who play Ukelele and his father play tricks on people with his magic stick. Father and son were bound from the village because of Ukelele noise and tricks. The village had problem with their ancestors mysterious giant that eat people alive. The father and son came to the villagers rescue by using their Ukelele and magic to destroy the mysterious giant. ...more

The story tells about once upon a time, there was a little boy who played the ukulele. Around the tow he'd go Clink, clunk, and clunk!
The grown-up would say, " Take that thing out of here!"
The boy's father got in trouble. The boy's father was a magiccian. But he played too many tricks on people said to the farther," You get out of here, too. Take your magic want and your tricks, and your son just git!" The boy and his father were ostracized. That means, they made ' em live on the edge
Nick Molinet
This is a good story song book because it is based on a folk tale and it also includes a song which is a great way to read stories to children. this is a story about a little boy and his magician father who uses his magic to trick people and one day the people got tired of his tricks and kicked both of them out. One day a big monster called Abiyoyo comes to the town and is about to destroy the town so they little boy and his dad go to destroy it so the boy starts playing his ukelele and that mak ...more
Once there was a little boy who played the ukelele. Wherever he'd go he'd play, Clink, clunk, clonk. His father was a magician. Wherever he'd go, he'd make things disappear, Zoop! Zoop! Soon the townspeople grew tired of the boy's noise and his father's tricks, and banished both of them to the edge of town.

There they lived, until one day the terrible giant Abiyoyo appeared. He was as tall as a tree, and it was said that he could eat people up. Everyone was terrified, except the boy and his fath
This book is ok. It doesn't really have any type of lesson to learned in it. It could be enjoyable for young children because it's a folk story involving magic, singing, and a giant monster. It was nice that the boy and his father worked together in order to take down the monster. I didn't really like the fact that no one in the village liked the boy and his father until they did something that helped the people.

Extension Activity: After reading this story to the class I would discuss with them
This book is about a kid who can't play the ukulele and his jerk dad who just goes around making people's things disappear with his wand. They get kicked out of the support group for racial stereotypes they call a town, then vanquish a monster, and then are accepted back: "Bring your darn ukelele. We don't care anymore." You'll notice they spell ukulele wrong in this book.
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Peter Seeger, better known as Pete Seeger, was a folk singer, political activist, and a key figure in the mid-20th century American folk music revival. As a member of the Weavers, he had a string of hits, including a 1949 recording of Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene" that topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950. However, his career as a mainstream performer was seriously curtailed by the Second Red Sc ...more
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“Come back to town. Bring your darn ukelele! We don't care anymore!” 2 likes
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