Saturday, April 17, 2010

Elsina's Clouds - Jeanette Winter

Frances Foster Bks, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004
O-O-P, found in the library
32 pages
Endpapers: Four squares coming out of each other, filled with colorful African designs

This book is about the "Basotho women of southern Africa." My research shows that Basotho is a part of South Africa, perhaps in and around the area of modern-day Lesotho. I'll have to look into this a little more.

Jeanette Winter shares the custom of the Basotho women painting their houses as messages to their ancestors to bring the rain. A nameless young girl paints the addition to her family abode that will house her soon-to-be-arriving baby sibling. She goes to bed at night and dreams about the rain coming to moisten her mother's crops.

This is the third time I've read that it's the WOMEN who plan, plant, care for, and sow the crops in many parts of Africa.

As always, I love Jeanette Winter's bordered, colorful, simple-yet-detailed illustrations. The story in this book, however, was a little too simple. I wanted more....more information....more about the symbolism of the painting, more about the paints themselves. Oh well. Can't have it all every time.

This would make a good companion book to Gugu's House by Catherine Stock, which is also about an African woman who paintis her house with decorations and waits until the rain washes it away so she can begin again.

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