Mary's Reviews > Bintou's Braids

Bintou's Braids by Sylviane A. Diouf
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's review
Oct 01, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: multicultural-literature
Read in October, 2009

Non-Print Review of TumbleBooks Bintou’s Braids
Original Publishing Info- Bintou’s Braids by Sylvianne Diouf (Author), Shane Evans (Illustrator) Chronicle Books (October 7, 2004) Ages 3-7.

"Growing up in a West African village, a small girl hates her short, fuzzy hair and dreams of when she'll be old enough to have long braids with gold coins and seashells like her big sister. Many children will recognize Bintou's wish to be sophisticated and beautiful, even as they enjoy seeing the particulars of where she lives. Evans' bright, stylized oil paintings, in strong shades of brown with lots of red and blue, show the child with the people in the village and encircled by her loving family. At the Muslim prayer ceremony and the feast celebrating the baptism of her baby brother, Abou, she meets a visitor from America, who talks with an accent and tells her about many girls in her country who have braids. The story (Bintou runs for help to save her two young cousins from drowning, and then she gets to choose her reward) seems added on; the heart of the book is the realistic, contemporary setting in all its rich detail." Hazel Rochman -Booklist Review

I really enjoy this story, but the voice of the reader makes it difficult for me to enjoy this version. At times it sounds condescending or too “happy go-lucky”. That is probably not the best way to describe this, but the voice doesn’t seem to match the tone of the story. This is a website that my students listen to very regularly. So, I was especially disappointed at the amount of multicultural literature on this site, and even more disappointed when I heard the voice of the reader. This is a story that I think my students would probably turn off, and it is a shame because it is a story that they may enjoy otherwise. I am giving this Tumblebooks story only 2 stars because of the voice, otherwise, based on the book, I would probably give it more like 4 stars.
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NS-Christine Johnson I agree with you about the narrator's voice. It totally did not match with the story, especially with the setting book in Africa. I also was frustrated by the lack of multicultural literature represented on Tumble Books.

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