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The Herd Boy

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  148 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Malusi is a herd boy, which means that he must look after his grandfather's sheep and goat and keep them from being harmed on the grazing slopes. It is a big job for a small boy, but it is one that Malusi does well. Even when a hungry baboon attacks the herd, Malusi isn't afraid. But he also dreams of someday being more than a herd boy. In this simple but poignant story, t ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
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Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Herd Boy is about Malusi, a young boy in rural South Africa who takes care of sheep and goats for his grandfather, and wishes to grow up to be a president. By writing a captivating narrative about the typical routines and harrowing adventures that a herd boy might face on any given day, author and illustrator Niki Daly both educates readers about the life of a herd boy and pays tribute to this livelihood.

Daly was born and raised in South Africa, has a working-class background, and likes to c
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Malusi looks after his grandfather’s sheep during the day, taking them grazing and also protecting them from predators. Malusi has to be able to work in the heat of the sun, keep the sheep away from the ravine, and keep close watch for snakes and baboons. His friend Lungisa is also a shepherd but he has his own dog, something Malusi wishes for. He also dreams of becoming something more than a herd boy, maybe even president!

Daly weaves in African details to create a setting and society in this p
Malusi may be young, but he takes his responsibilities as a herd boy seriously. Each day he watches over his grandfather's sheep and goats. Not only must he keep them from wandering off, but he must protect them from other animals. While he goes about his day, he nurtures his dreams of someday being much more than a herd boy. While his older friend Lungisa has aspirations to one day play football, Malusi thinks he might want to be president of his country. A chance encounter with an elderly man ...more
Emily Stueven
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Niki Daly, a South African writer, tells the story of a brave and humble young shepherd who dreams of one day becoming president. It is a book about dreams. The herd boy, Malusi, lives modestly and close to the earth, working each day in the field with his animals, sometimes defending his flock against dangerous marauding baboons--though he does get in a little time for football with his friend Lungisa, who wants to be a professional footballer.

Both boys' dreams might seem too big for their cur
Jean Coughlin
1. This book reminded me of another text I read called Nannabah’s Friend by Mary Perrine. Like Malusi, Nannabah’s job was to look after her grandparent’s sheep. They were both young children. She used a stick to guide them and a can of little rocks to shake in case a sheep got off the trail, she could shake the can and make them think a snake was nearby. Malusi used a whistle and a handful of stones.
2. Questions:
1. List two things that Malusi used to keep his sheep and goats in order and safe.
Set in South Africa, this is the story of a boy, Malusi, whose job it is to herd his grandfather's sheep -- a big job for a small boy. He has a friend who has a dog and plays football (soccer) and stick fights with him. Malusi longs to have a dog to help him protect the sheep from danger, especially the baboons that he is usually able to scare off. South African words are interspersed in the text (and there is a glossary with pronunciation guide at the end). Wonderful sense of place -- depicted ...more
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! A beautiful written story, taking the reader on a deep journey into Africa. Malusi is a small boy with a huge responsibility of keeping his grandfather's sheep and goats safe. There's lots of action in the beginning with seeing an eagle, avoiding ravines and finding baboons along the overhanging cliff face. As the story builds, we learn that Lungisa who is Malusi's older friend with his own dog, laughs at Malusi's dream to be president, while his sister Zolika is supportive. Later on, ...more
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Malusi, a young boy who takes care of his grandfather's sheep and goats, takes us along for a day in his life. As the story moves along, you learn that for a little boy, Malusi has big dreams for his life. He wants to become president, and we are reminded that great leaders often come from humble beginnings. With beautiful illustrations, as well as a few words from South African languages, this makes for a perfect text to use with middle grade students. The author's note at the end, as well as t ...more
Scott Mescher
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
The Herd Boy by Niki Daly gives its readers an interesting look into another culture by following the life of Malusi, a young African boy. Malusi is a hard worker and a good friend as well as an exceptional herder. Malusi proves himself to be a strong leader and has some exceptional dreams to become another type of leader in the future (President).

This book is a reminder that children of all cultures have hopes and dreams for their future. It is also a reminder of what is important in life; espe
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This 2013 USBBY OIB for grades K-2 has interesting vocabulary like Mielie pap,kraal, and donga. Most of the illustrations take up the right hand page and 1/2 of the left page with the text neatly on a generous left side bar. At the top or bottom, or both parts of the left side text bar there are also small cutout illustrations in a black and grey pallet. This author/illustrator does a nice job conveying expression in the faces of boys and goats alike. There is an author's note in the back of the ...more
Anastasia Tuckness
Great, beautiful picture book telling the story of a herd boy in South Africa. The large spreads allow for lots of detail and sweeping scenes of the outdoors.You really get a sense of their daily life rhythms, food, relationships, etc. The challenges of keeping a herd safe from baboons, canyons, etc. are well portrayed. Malusi's dream of becoming president and his friend's dream of playing professional soccer (football) help the reader to think beyond their present experiences.

Nelson Mandela vis
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Malusi is in charge of protecting the sheep and goats during the day. He does the job with integrity. He has dreams of a big future for himself and when anyone asks what he wants to do when he is older he tells them, President! I gave this book 5/5 stars. I liked that this boy did well at the job he was given. I enjoyed the illustrations. I was very thankful for a list of words on a one page glossary in the back of the book. Throughout the book there are words that are italicized; these words ar ...more
Margaret Towery
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A rather simple story of a day in the life of a South African sheep herder. President Nelson Mandela pays happens to drive by and the two share a brief moment. The power of this selection is the author's note, in which she asks, "What is there in the life of a herd boy that would help prepare him to become the shepherd of a nation?" And with that, this be comes a mentor text for the Common Core standard of turning comprehension into original ideas. A powerful exemplar lesson in one attractive pa ...more
Alison Streb
This story follows Malusi who takes care of his grandfather’s sheep and goats. The illustrations show Malusi working barefoot in South Africa and soon he tells his friend that he wants to be president. A car stops by and it shows that it’s Nelson Mandela and tells the boy that when he was their age that he also looked after sheep’s. The book as beautiful watercolor artwork with thick black lines the captures the struggle in the poor village but gives hope to the boys. This story is one of hope a ...more
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The simple story about a South African herd boy was interesting enough on it's own, but the story was thought provoking too. In the Author's note Daly says "Though our childhoods may appear accidental - some luckier than others- they so often seem cutome-made for the adults we become." An appearance by an unnamed Mandela drives this point home. Enjoyed words in Afrikaans and Xhosa sprinkled through the story and appreciated the glossary.
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-4-8
Molweni! Walk along with Malusi in the veldt and learn about the life and dreams of a herd boy. A wonderful tale that reminds us that great leaders can come from humble beginnings. 'Though our childhoods may appear accidental - some luckier than others - they so often seem custom-made for the adults we become.'.
Jan 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
This is a boy which describes the life of a young African boy - how he tends his sheep and tries to keep them from danger. Him and his friend have dreams - one wants to be a footballer and the other a president. Will their dreams ever come true? Perhaps because during the course of the story, one of them bumps into Nelson Mandella, who himself was a poor sheep herder.
Here's a great place-based book, in written and visual detail. Readers get a sense of village life in South Africa, learn a bit of vocabulary, and then get the surprise that the supposedly anonymous boy protagonist they've been following is actually a well-known historical figure. This pseudo-biography makes the hero approachable and the everyday, heroic.
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
A useful, slightly unusual addition to resources for learning about Nelson Mandela; this book isn't about Mandela, but it does make the reader reflect on his early life and what qualities are needed for leadership.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Malusi is a shepherd who watches his grandfather's sheep and goats. He tries to protect the herd from baboons, and birds of prey. He wants to be president when he grows up. This is an excellant story by Niki Daly. I especially like the picture of the unnamed Mandela in the book.
A shepherd boy, Malusi in the African Savannah dreams of being the president of his nation one day. The book depicts the day in the life of the shepherd in an engaging fashion. Wildlife, people, places, interactions and colorful illustrations will warm the readers heart.
The Styling Librarian
The Herd Boy by Niki Daly – what a perfect book for introducing culture, perspective, responsibility, and dedication. Fascinating to read how a young boy has such responsibilities for his family’s survival as he monitors his grandfather’s sheep and goats daily.
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking story with lovely illustrations. Great look into life for a young boy in South Africa with a glossary to help with terms. If you dream it, you can become it, good advice in any country and time.
Barbara Lovejoy
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I continue to love serendipitous experiences! I found this book while at the library picking up another book. It is delightful--with a great message. While looking for more information, I found this great website---
Malusi is a herd boy in a small village in . A snapshot of his life and also into the life of Nelson Mandela, who also came from a humble background.

Afrikaans and a tribal language called Xhosa appear frequently.
Nancy Jo Lambert
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I reviewed this book for School Library Journal.
Niki Daly always gives great insight into what life is like in South Africa. I like how Nelson Mandela makes an appearance in this one.
A young boy dreams of being President of his country some day while he watches his grandfather's herd of sheep and goats.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: umw
Interesting story
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I like the way the book describes the boy's courage and his dreams. The lesson, of course, is that many great men have come from simple beginnings such as these.
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