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The Perfect Orange: A Tale from Ethiopia Review by Kim Kargbo

Frank Araujo
Rayve Productions, Inc.
Box 726
Windsor, CA 95492

In this charming folktale from Ethiopia, a young girl finds a perfect orange and wants to give it to the ruler of her land. On her journey to the great ruler, she is stopped by the crafty and jealous hyena, who tries to trick her out of the orange. She pays him no heed, however, and continues on her journey. Upon seeing her gift and the generosity of her heart, the ruler wants to give her a gift in return, which she refuses. When she leaves, he has his courtier follow her with a generous gift. As the girl passes the hyena again, he sees that she has been well paid for her humble gift. He decides that he will give the ruler a great gift in hopes of receiving an even greater reward. But as the ruler is able to discern the heart of the giver, the hyena ends up with a surprise.

This hardcover book, which is also a PBS Storytime book, is beautifully illustrated with watercolor pictures on every page. Amharic vocabulary (the language of Ethiopia) are scattered throughout the story with pronunciation guides and a glossary at the end of the book. The story would make a wonderful supplement for a geography study of Africa, and the tale itself is a delightful allegory of how God looks upon our gifts to Him based on the attitude of our heart, not on the earthly value of the gift itself.

Any family would enjoy reading this story together and learning more about the culture of Ethiopia. It would make an especially good resource for families who have adopted children from Ethiopia.

Product review by Kim Kargbo, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2010