Author: Eileen Browne
Grade Level Equivalent:
Comedy and Humor, General Fiction, Multicultural
Africa, Cooking, Communities and Ways of Life
Among the thatched huts of an African village, a young girl named Handa prepares a basket of fruit she intends to take as a gift to her best friend, Akeyo. Handa is unsure just which fruit is Akeyo's favorite, so she makes sure to load her basket with seven different types, ranging from mango and pineapple to avocado and guava. It's a huge basket and Handa carries it just as the grown-up women of her village would - on her head.
But as she walks through the long grasses on her way to Akeyo's village, Handa finds that the selection of fruit in her basket gets smaller and smaller. First a monkey hangs down from a tree and takes away the banana. A zebra pokes his head out of the grass and chomps on the orange. A parrot swoops down and flies off with the passion fruit. The basket is empty, but lucky for Handa . . . she walks under a tangerine tree just as a goat butts into it, and the bright orange fruit falls from the tree limbs and fills her basket to the brim! And even better, it turns out that tangerines are Akeyo's favorite!
The watercolor illustrations in Eileen Browne's book are as lush and colorful as the fruits Handa carries in her basket. The pictures present a beautifully detailed portrait of the African village where Handa lives and the wildlife that roams its neighboring lands. The simple-to-read story introduces readers to tropical fruit and a menagerie of wild animals even as it shows the sharing of gifts between the two very best of friends.