Work and More Work

Tom lives in the countryside in the mid 1800s, and he’s curious what is it like in the town, the city, and the world beyond? It’s all “work and more work,” everyone tells him. Determined to find out for himself, Tom sets off with a bit of bread and cheese in a bundle. He encounters crowded marketplaces, bustling wharves, and storms on the high seas.

Rata-Pata-Scata-Fata: A Caribbean Story

This is the story of Junjun, a little boy who wants to help his mother, but who doesn’t really want to exert any effort in the process. Instead, he invokes the nonsense phrase, “rata-pata-scata-fata” to accomplish several tasks she sets before him: getting a fish for dinner, finding a lost goat, and collecting a bucket of tamarinds. Lastly, she asks him to fill the rain barrel. Junjun lies on the ground, repeats the words several times, and the chores are completed. Of course, no magic is really involved, only coincidence-or is it?

The Gift of the Sun: A Tale from South Africa

In this witty book based on an African folk tale, Thulani prefers sitting in the sun to doing his chores. Tired of milking the cow, he trades her in for a goat. When the goat gets into the corn seed, he trades it for a sheep. Sick of shearing, he buys some geese, which then get exchanged for some sunflower seeds. With each trade, his hard-working wife gets more and more exasperated.