Wondrous folklore to keep kids riveted at Christmas

Book: Mazanendaba and the Magical Story Shell

Book: Mazanendaba and the Magical Story Shell

Author: Gcina Mhlophe

Publisher: Jacklin

Gcina Mhlophe's storytelling abilities and her children's books have made many children happy.

Though many of today's children do not have the luxury of having relatives who can tell them folklore, we can all find solace in books like this one.

On this project Mhlophe teamed up with illustrator Retha Buitendach to produce a brilliant book.

It's about Mazanendaba, who lives in a beautiful house with her husband Zenzele and their children.

Despite the beautiful setting, something is missing - no one tells stories and no one dreams.

So Mazanendaba goes into a nearby forest to ask the animals for their stories.

She almost gives up hope of finding any, until she bumps into Eagle, who tells her that Dolphin can take her to the Underwater Kingdom, where the Spirit King and Queen live with the Spirit People. There she will find stories.

Hare, Elephant, Giraffe and Owl are all part of this riveting story. Mazanendaba's conversations with the animals are so fascinating that they will keep even the fidgety children still.

The illustrations beautifully enhance the stories.

Book: Kensani's Kite

Author: Alanna Deall

Publisher: Jacklin

Kensani is an old man who spends most of his time sitting alone under a tree thinking about his wife.

Since her death he has taken up carving wooden animals to keep himself busy. He has a special place in the shade where he carves. One day, while sitting next to his favourite fig tree, a flapping sound disturbs him.

A large yellow bag flaps towards him. From it protrudes a pair of small legs, carrying a rather out-of-breath boy.

Kensani and the boy, Pondamali, hit it off instantly and they get busy making a kite.

This is a tender story of love, trust and respect.

The young boy, despite the age difference, brings cheer and friendship to an old man dealing with grief.

It's a lesson in interpersonal relations. The author, a former teacher, shares the experiences she gathered while she was a teacher at a missionary school.

The illustrations, by Diek Grobler, are bold and beautiful.

Kensani's Kite and Mazanendaba are musts for the Christmas stocking this year.