Pub date: 07/2008
Type/format: Picture book / Hard Cover
Age range: 3 yrs – 8 yrs
Children need to be introduced to the pleasure, joy and adventure of reading at a young age in order to instill a lasting love of literature. As parents, we can help in this process by reading our children stories which we know that they will enjoy. At the same time, we can help add value to it by selecting books that promote good moral such as Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River, an African version of the Good Samaritan story.
Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River is written by author Kunle Oguneye, who left a career in technology in order to pursue his love for children’s story-telling. This book is the first in a series of adventures that follow Sikulu the spider and Harambe the Hippo as they travel to different countries in Africa.
The story starts off with both friends encountering an old woman who was washing her clothes by the river. The old woman accidentally slipped which resulted in her clothes falling into the water and drifting away with the current. As she cried out for help to each of the animals around, all of them conveniently gave excuses not to help her.
Out of the goodness of their hearts, Sikulu & Harambe, went out of their way to rescue the clothes for the old woman. They were rewarded with emerald and gold bracelets for their good deeds which made the other animals regret not helping the old woman.
Based on an actual folktale, Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River not only teaches children about the importance of the act of kindness but also weaves information about life and culture in Zambia. A great book to ignite the spark of desire to read in children from age 3 onwards.
Check out what other Parent Reviewers had to say about this book:
Mott’s Island – It’s a really wonderful book, introducing my kids to other cultures and people. They even learnt about Africa (the Zambezi River in Zambia, etc) and that there are different ways of pronouncing certain words. My 6 year old loved the word, “ESHULA!” and that was the first word he pronounced correctly, when he re-read the book.
Atomic Mama – I do want to say that this was a wonderful take on an old “classic” – I liked it as much as my son did. In fact, we read it three times in one day! My son is three – but a younger child would enjoy this story also for the simpleness of it (and the beautiful illustrations by Bruce McCorkindale). The older kids will appreciate the story – which is basically “be kind to others.” It’s a wonderful moral and a wonderful and cultural retelling. The book goes even a step (or two) further by even having a glossary of words used in the book. This is a great way for your children to learn more about life and the language of Zambia.
Mom Most Traveled – Sikulu & Harambe brings character education along with cultural information. I am looking forward to other books about Sikulu & Harambe that will give us the chance to follow their adventures as the journey to other countries in Africa.
The illustrations by Bruce McCorkindale really bring Sikulu & Harambe to life, with soft, friendly drawings of the Zambian flora, animals, and people.
Mommy Meryl Must Haves – Personally, there can never be too many engaging stories for kids with the message on how important being kind and nice are. What was a nice twist on this story was that included in the message about being nice to others, was a story that included lots of wonderful facts about Africa and African culture. In my opinion you got two lessons for the price of one!
Creative Writings 101 – This story made me think about things in a new perspective. In helping others, and being kind-I can actually feel good myself. Plus, in doing so you are setting an example for others, including your children if they are with you. Deja loved the colorful illustrations and together we were able to learn about a different culture, learning new words along the way.
The Clan Mcleod – The illustrations and simple, yet beautiful with lots of color! I love that in the back of the book, the author includes simple comprehension questions, a glossary of words, names and places, an explanation of the Ku-omboka Ceremony that Sikulu and Harambe attend, animals found in Zambia, and facts about Zambia along with illustrations of the flag and a map. It makes the story more alive and real when you can see and understand the terms and locations of where the action takes place!
Loving Heart Mommy -This book teaches us about a real life situation, the reactions of others, and the rewards for their actions. Its a great way to teach your children about kindness all while learning about a new culture as well. I believe this book is just as much for adults as it is geared towards children, we can all learn something from the kind actions and reactions of others in this book.
Rambling Moo – I personally find this book very well written with interesting and the colorful illustration helps young kids to grasp the meaning of expressing kindness to others with an open heart. The part where Sikulu went all the out to help the old woman despite his own fear really depict the actual act of kindness which we should learn to practice. Besides that, we get to learn a few new African words as well as the culture of the Zambian people along the way!
Crumley Family Blog – The universal theme of kindness to those in need was very obvious. But the story was also a wonderful introduction to African culture. It brought in geography (the story takes place in Zambia along the Zambezi River), new vocabulary (with an excellent glossary in the back and pronunciation keys in the story), zoology (various animals are the main characters in the story), and the mention of the Ku-omboka Ceremony which is explained in further detail in the back of the book.
Chefdruck Reviews – I don’t think the moral of the story really resonated with Jack and Juliette, although I have to hope it did somehow subconsciously. Sikulu and Harambe was a big hit though, because of the illustrations – the smiling blue hippo and the happy colorful frog were enticing to both children. They loved the setting of the story with its fun and exotic African names. We also had a great time picking out all the African animals including the elephant, the fish, and the stork.
If you’ve enjoyed our reviews and would like to purchase the book, just click here to get your copy! Alternatively, you can try your luck and win an autographed copy of the book via some of the giveaways on our reviewers’ blogs:
a) Atomic Mama
b) Rambling Moo