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Tukama Tootles The Flute by Phillis…
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Tukama Tootles The Flute

by Phillis Gershator

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Tukama is a young boy who continuously refuses to help his grandmother with household chores whenever she asks - he plays all day and tootles on his flute. One day, he disregards his grandmother's warning not to go beyond an area of craggy rocks on their island as a giant who eats children lives there. Tukama ventures on and plays his flute - until the giant catches him because of his wonderful flute music. The giant smells him, wants to eat him, then commands his giant wife to fatten Tukama up with johnnycakes. Tukama escapes the giant wife by captivating her with his flute music, and he ultimately makes an escape. Tukuma learns his lesson and finally obeys and helps his grandmother around the home.

The plot and message of the story is simple and direct - disobeying your elders leads to dire consequences. According to the author's note, the story is adapted from St. Thomas in Elsie Clews Parson's "Folk-Lore of the Antilles, French and English Part II (New York: American Folk-Lore Society, 1936). The content is engaging as it incorporates the nonsensical children's chants from the original story,

"Tanto, tanto, tango/Guavaberry, mango/Bombwiti, bombwiti/Bimbala, bango."

includes cultural-specific elements such as the johnnycakes and jumbie beads, and the dialogue stays true to cultural norms, for example, when Tukama comes home late, his grandmother says,

"Where you been, boy? It late! Don't you know a two-headed giant runnin' about here, lookin' for wild children to eat?"

The illustrations implement an impressionist style and uses rich, warm, and bright colors, complements the white text well, and beautifully depicts the characters, the island environment, and Tukuma's household.

Perfect for read-aloud story time for children ages 6-10 years old. ( )
  elainevbernal | Nov 5, 2011 |
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Tanto, tanto, taya,
Tamarind, papaya,
Mama lama, cuma lama,
Mama lama laya.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0531068110, Hardcover)

When Tukama is captured by a two-headed giant and held prisoner by the giant's wife, he uses his flute to escape.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When Tukama is captured by a two-headed giant and held prisoner by the giant's wife, he uses his flute to escape.

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