An Sealgaire agus an Crann Éabainn

The traditional story in this attractive book was collected from an old Zarama storyteller in Nigeria. Zarama warriors bear a certain resemblance to Irish heroes of old and one is also reminded of some familiar stories. It is interesting to note the similarities in cultures from one country to another. A man was seeking a suitable husband for his beautiful daughter who had many admirers. The daughter agreed that strength alone would not be sufficient in a good partner and so it was decided that she would marry the man who could pierce the ebony tree in the village with his spear. Many tried and failed in this task until a handsome hunter came along one day. Seeing the beautiful daughter smile at him, he decided he would be the one to marry her. With the help of a woodpecker, a spider and a butterfly, a good plan and loyal friends, he succeeds. It is interesting to get a perspective on Nigeria that is not based on poverty. The story is enhanced by interesting artwork and lovely colours. The clothes are beautiful and colourful, yet the desert and the tents, the vessels, pots, wooden buckets and exotic plants have a sense of place. This book could be an innovative way to introduce some understanding of old Nigerian culture. It would be interesting to find some Nigerian people who could discuss the topics with the children in school or in the library. Certainly this book could be used to broaden experiences for Irish children in third or fourth class. The story could be read to them and, even though the children may not read it themselves, it would be interesting to see how much would be gleaned from the illustrations before it is read. It would also be worth recording so the children could listen and follow the story.