Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Animal Stories Daddy Told Us
By Innocent Emechete

Excerpts from Introduction: Many years ago a lot of African Countries did not have too many things written down because many of the people could not read or write. Consequently oral literature became a part of their life. Memorization was the most used instrument among the people to pass on knowledge, history, literature and all sorts of information from one person to another, and from one generation to the next. "Animal Stories Daddy Told Us" is a product of that oral tradition.

In these oral traditions, African children were given a sense of what it meant to be a village warrior and the honor and prestige that went with it. Character, discipline and integrity were built in the young generation through these oral, human and animal stories of courage and success. The mistakes of the past were also recounted for a precaution in the future.

Some of these stories were funny and some were scary; but they always taught some moral lesson to the next generation. What was handed over orally from one generation to the next is put down in writing now for generations to come...But more importantly it is written down for the benefit of other cultures that do not have such traditions and animal stories as part of their history and culture. Hopefully the little children in these cultures will benefit immensely from these stories from Africa at another time in history.

Some of the stories are humorous and entertaining. But there are some stories that exhibit acts of deceit and game playing. These are set to teach young people that there are some animals which do not play by the rules just as there are some people in our human society that do not play by the rules either. These stories prepare the children for the real world. From the mistakes and fall of such bad characters in animal stories, children are made to learn a good lesson about how to be good and fair to other people.

I was sent this book to review back in February, and have just now been able to finish reading it. It does teach lessons in each story, and the author has even given discussion questions at the end of each story so that it can be discussed in detail with children. The author was also kind enough to add to the back of the book an explanation of some of the foreign words used in the book. I don't believe young children could read this book on their own and get a full understanding of it, but it would possibly be a good tool in home schooling.



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