Old Mikamba Had a Farm
Rachel Isadora (12 Days of Christmas) takes a chant-together classic and transplants it to the plains of Africa and the wonderful sounds its inhabitants make.
"Old Mikamba had a farm/ E-I-E-I-O" introduces the title farmer in a glorious multi-thread tunic and headpiece in tones that match the sun. Opposite, children play with the monkey he held, and giraffes, elephants and an ostrich gather near the Serengeti trees. Old Mikamba runs a game farm that protects many of Africa's endangered species (as an endnote explains). The baboon makes an "ooh-ha-ha here" and an "Ooh-ha-ha there" while the elephant (in newsprint collage) sounds a "baraaa-baraaa," and the small gerbil-like dassie (though it's often called a "rock rabbit") pipes in with a "trill-trill here" and a "trill-trill there." Towering above, the giraffe's neck stretches as a veritable quilt of colors and patterns in golds, oranges and greens, and as the sun sets, the springbok buoyantly leaps in silhouette against a tangerine sky.
Children will savor the sounds of the African savannah and revel in the additional facts provided at story's end. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness