Cover image for Is it far to Zanzibar? : poems about Tanzania
Is it far to Zanzibar? : poems about Tanzania
Grimes, Nikki.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Bookks, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 23 cm
Over a dozen poems with some aspect of the African country of Tanzania as a theme.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3557.R489982 I69 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS3557.R489982 I69 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Thirteen masterly poems by Nikki Grimes are illustrated with piquant watercolors by Betsy Lewin. From mist-and mystery-shrouded Mount Meru, to a young girl coming home to her family's relentless hospitality, to a hungry lion prowling the Serengeti Plain, to a bus crowded witth squawking chickens and curious billy goats - not to mention people - Is It Far to Zanzibar? captures the sights, sounds and scenery of Tanzania.

Author Notes

Nikki Grimes was born and raised in New York City. She began writing poetry at age six and is well-known for writing award-winning books primarily for children and young adults. Bronx Masquerade and Talkin' About Bessie both won Coretta Scott King Awards, and her poetry collections featuring Danitra Brown are very popular. Grimes received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 2006.

She has written articles for magazines including Essence and Today's Christian Woman, as well as hosted radio programs in New York and Sweden. She has lectured and read her poetry at schools in Russia, China, Sweden, and Tanzania. Grimes is also a prolific artist, creating works of fiber art, beaded jewelry, peyote beading, handmade cards, and photography.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 3^-8. This work is very different from Grimes' powerful poetry and realistic fiction about city kids in the U.S. Here the rhyming, sing-song verse is light and playful, an outsider's view of a Tanzania where everyone's having fun: tourists are on camels, local kids and adults are on bikes, trucks, and jam-packed buses ("I safiri, you safiri. / Everyone is on safari."). One child picks coffee and also finds time to play. Another is chased by a lion. In the rainy season "Five goats, four ewes, / three snakes, two gnus, / and one field mouse" all squeeze inside the house. Traders come from everywhere to see what grows in Zanzibar ("cloves and ginger growing wild / chili peppers hot and mild"). Lewin's active cartoon-style watercolors pick up the jaunty rhythms and the mix of animals, foods, and people. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-These 13 poems are attractively surrounded by small, lively, and expressive watercolor paintings depicting aspects of life in villages, in the countryside, and in the marketplace. One dreamy painting of Mount Meru against an apricot twilight provides a contrast in mood to the other illustrations, which are cheerful, sometimes comical, and energetic. The concluding vocabulary list and the map of Tanzania may be clues to the essentially educational purpose of these poems. Grimes's subjects include hot pepper, families picking coffee together, a child chased up a tree by a lion, and a mango seller. These selections, though, seem curiously flat-the simple laundry lists of what is seen or statements of fact seem more like observations set to rhyme than evocations of what is felt or of what may be imagined. This is not helped by the occasional infelicitous meter: "Mount Meru" begins, "In Arusha, there's a mountain./There's a mountain known as Meru./First it's there, then disappearing./Wrapped in mist, how it misleads you."-Marian Drabkin, Richmond Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.