White Ravens: Cameroon

4 books      

Cameroon (French) - 1997 - 112
Onana, Désiré
Matike, l'enfant de la rue
(Matike, the street child)
Yaoundé: Editions Akoma MBA, 1995. 24 p.
(Distrib: Les Amis de la Joie par les Livres, Paris)
City life - Poverty - Parental violence - Street child - Job training
Plain and memorable black-and-white stencil pictures illustrate this story of an African boy who runs away from home to escape the beatings of his father and family poverty. He earns his own keep on the street for a while until he is taken into a youth correction center. There he also learns a skilled job as a carpenter and finally returns to his home. This appealing picture book comes out of a studio in Cameroon which was founded by a group of African authors and illustrators who want to design and publish attractive and high-quality books for children. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Cameroon (French) - 1998 - 108
Njeng, Pierre Yves (text/illus.)
Vacances au village
(Vacation in the village)
Yaounde: Akoma Mba, 1996. [24] p.
Cameroon - City life - Country life - School holidays
A city family spends its holidays in a country village with the grandparents. The leisurely pace of life leaves much time for playing outdoors, excursions into the woods and fishing along the river. In the evening by the shine of petroleum lamps grandfather tells traditional tales about heroes while grandmother prepares supper over an open fire. The rural scenes are rendered in strong earthy tones, arranged in an authentic sequence like snapshots in a photo album. The subtitles below the pictures are provided by Nwemb, the son. Candidly he admits his initial fears of the new and unknown situation. By the time of departure, he has grown to love and appreciate it. Promising to return, he exchanges gifts with his new-found playmate - his books for a turtle. The album acquires its particular charm through this youthful perspective. (6+)

Special Mention - Cameroon (French) - 1998 - 109
Nomo, Vincent (text/illus.)
Le cri de la forêt
(The cry of the forest)
Yaounde: Akoma Mba, 1995. 24 p.
Jungle - Deforestation - Wildlife
With screeching chainsaws and tractor trucks, with stinky fumes and deafening noise civilization forces its way into the jungle forest to begin clearing and destruction. The animals join together in a counterattack and drive the invaders from their severely wounded paradise this time. In artistically confident illustratrations Nomo makes tangible the contrast between the mysteriously teeming, pristine forest, whose highest trees go beyond the doublepaged format, and the massive, angular bulldozer that ruthlessly sets about to devour Nature. (6+)

Cameroon (French) - 1999 - 111
Njoya, Idrissou (text/illus.)
La ruse
(The ruse)
Yaounde: Éd. Akomba Mba, 1996. 24 p.
Rural life - Wild animals - Deceipt - Trickery
Wandering around the forest, three boys find the fresh corpse of an antilope. A large, strong young man appears suddenly and makes off with the largest part of the game. A trick is then used by the weaker three - as is often the case in African tales - to get the better of the stronger one. Without further ado the children take their booty back to the village for a festive meal. The illustrations present the story with ease and simplicity. The facial features and actions of the children are captured in a minimum of lines. (5+) ☆