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*Subira Subira* by Tololwa M. Mollel, illustrated by Linda Saport
Subira Subira
by Tololwa M. Mollel, illustrated by Linda Saport
Grades K-4 32 pages Clarion February 2006 Paperback    

A combination of vivid illustrations and a fascinating retelling of a Tanzanian folktale combine in this gorgeous book, a feast for the eyes as well as the soul. With the language of the past and the brilliance of color propelling the story, this book will fascinate any curious young reader.

When two children lose their mother, their father must spend more time away from home, working for the family. In his absence, Tatu is responsible for the care of her younger brother, who simply will not behave no matter what she does. He throws stones, bites and refuses to behave, inconsolable and angry.

The older Tatu turns to an elderly spirit woman, the frightening Ma Mzuka, who explains that there is a cure for what is ailing the boy, but it will take a very brave girl to approach a lion and pluck three whiskers from his nose. Although terribly frightened at the prospect of confronting the lion, Tatu gathers all her courage in order to save her little brother from his bad behavior.

Armed with only a song, Tatu sets out to accomplish her impossible task. Having already found the courage to face the old woman, the girl confronts her fears and a fearsome lion with a song, snatching the whiskers from the sleeping beast lulled by her music.

Through this ordeal, Tatu learns an important life lesson: the power of facing the unknown. Borne on the notes of song, Tatuís brother is gradually seduced by music, patience and love, the songs of their mother calming the boy and allowing him to return to his happy childhood.

As lush as the brilliant images, the text marries perfectly to illustrator Linda Saportís artwork, the whole an impressive tale of loss and love, couched in folklore and the rich history of music. This is a stunning, evocative piece of childrenís literature.

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