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Library : Book Reviews > Abiyoyo

By Pete Seeger

Review by: Karen Shaw

     Abiyoyo is a South African folk story. Pete Seeger, the great storyteller, came up with this one from a single footnote attached to a lullaby.  His preschool children asked for the story again and again and yours will too. The tale is that of a young boy and his magician father.  The tricks the magician plays on people angers them until one day they make the boy and his father leave town.  The townspeople tell stories about giants, especially one called Abiyoyo.  They say he can eat people, but no one believes it. One day a large shadow moves toward the town and the ground shakes.  As the monster comes closer, they realize it is Abiyoyo.  The father and son are awakened by the noise.  The father declares that if he can get Abiyoyo to lie down, he can make him disappear.  The boy grabs his father's hand and his ukelele.  His father gets his magic wand and they run across the fields. They come very close to Abiyoyo and the boy begins to sing and play.  This makes the monster dance faster and faster until out of breath, he falls to the ground.  The father steps up with his magic wand and zap, Abiyoyo disappears.  All the people of the town lift the father and son on their shoulders and sing the song together.  This is a great multicultural story. To make it even better, consider purchasing the story on tape, read by James Earl Jones.  He does a magnificent job of telling this tale. 

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