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TORINA'S WORLD: A CHILD'S LIFE IN MADAGASCAR

Author: Joni Kabana and Benjamin Opsahl

Illustrator: Joni Kabana

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Arnica Creative, ©2007

Material: hard cover

Summary: As we explore the village of Marovaoay in Madagascar, Torina shows us and tells us about her life: how she lives, what she and the other children do for fun, and the feelings they share. Along the way, Torina takes time to ask the reader about his daily life. This photographic story invites young children (and those learning to read) into a new culture.

Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 7 to 9

Interest Level: 5 to 9

Age of Child: Started reading with 6-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our child liked this story, particularly the photos at the end where she could study the faces of the children. She took her time in answering Torina's questions, and it was nice to "see" the thought that went into them.

Adult Reader Reaction: We enjoyed this book. The black and white photographs really illustrate the quality of life in Madagascar. We love how the questions invite the reader not only to contrast their own environment, but how they also show the things we have in common.

Pros: This photographic story helps young readers learn about Madagascar in a way that engages them in the process.

Cons: The Torina's World website offers some good information about Madagascar, but we wish that there was a resource list in the book itself with some additional background material. For example, some of the children's faces were painted. We had questions, but no information to offer.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is definitely worth reading. It is a nice contrast to many of the early reader books that are out there, but still offers critical vocabulary development and encourages comprehension and reflection.

If You Liked This Book, Try: AN AFRICAN ABC   COME LOOK WITH ME; DISCOVERING AFRICAN AMERICAN ART FOR CHILDREN   OBARA AND THE MERCHANTS

Educational Themes: The book has so much to offer. The photography lends itself to exploring what Madagascar really looks like (beyond just the people in the image). The statement/question format is exquisite and invites children to explore elements of life that look different on the "outside" but are common to us all. The Torina's World website complements the book with facts that don't fit the story.

Notes: The Reading Tub, Inc. reviewed a pre-publication copy in paperback.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - picture book, photography, society and culture, Africa

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2007

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