Slowly! Slowly!

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T.M. Clark (text), Helene Magisson (illus.), Slowly! Slowly! Wombat Books, Nov 2017, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk). ISBN: 9781925563221

Pre-schoolers will relate to the protagonist Bongani’s impatience to be old enough to go to school. His grandfather schools him in patience by instructing that it’s only ‘slowly, slowly, (that) you catch a monkey’.  And so Bongani – distracted from his concerns about school – sets out to catch a monkey.

This story is based on a South African folk tale and was originally an Ashanti proverb quoted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell; founder of the Scout movement. The author was born in Zimbabwe and has a passion for sharing African stories which shines through in this picture book.

The use of repetition and alliteration in the text, alongside the lush illustrations, makes for an enchanting read. I really liked the climax of this story where Bongani, once he’s caught his monkey, takes time to reflect.

This story could make a good jumping off point in the classroom for studying other cultures, folklore and idioms. Teachers notes are available here.

Reviewed by Heather Gallagher

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