Thursday, March 13, 2014

Under the Same Sun by Sharon Robinson

Under the Same Sun by Sharon Robinson. Illustrated by Ag Ford. unpgd. Scholastic Press, January, 2014. 9780545166720. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review.)

This family tale is narrated by the author and tells the story of her and her mother's trip to Tanzania for a family reunion and celebration of Bibi's eighty-fifth birthday. Phew! What a trek! First a long plane ride from the US to the west coast of Africa. After several days of talking and catching up, the whole extended family piled into a jeep to drive across Tanzania to the Serengeti National Park to safari for three days. There reunion trip ended at Bagamoyo, a former slave-trading post. 

That's quite a lot for a picture book to cover! I would've loved to have gotten to know the family a bit more as well as a little more about the safari and Bagamoyo. It felt as if three stories were crammed into one. A unique, multicultural family story got a bit lost and a bit teachy toward the end. 

The illustrations convey the happiness of the family's visit and their safari in a richly hued palette. A fascinating three-page author's note fills in some information about the family, the Swahili language and Tanzanian food. The book is a nice addition to the multicultural collection.

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