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Koi and the Kola Nuts: A Tale from Liberia…

Koi and the Kola Nuts: A Tale from Liberia

by Verna Aardema

Other authors: Joe Cepeda (Illustrator)

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Age: Intermediate
Genre: Folklore
Media: oil paint
Review/Critique: The youngest son of a chief in Africa inherits a kola nut tree from his father. He takes a bunch of the nuts and goes on a journey. He helps a snake, ants, and an alligator by giving them kola nuts. Later, he is trying to win the hand of a chief's daughter and all the animals help him with the challenges because he helped them. This is an African folklore, set in Liberia. I am not personally familiar with it, but it would be something told in villages throughout generations, until written down for the first time in 1960. There are also very clear lessons in the story such as humility, caring for animals, sharing, and hard work. The main character, Koi, is an obvious hero in the story. ( )
  kwilson14 | Feb 16, 2017 |
This Liberian folktale follow Koi, the youngest son of a chief who dies. Koi misses out on the division of his father's treasures, but decides to make due with what he has: the Kola nuts from his tree. His travels lead his to those in need, which he takes time to help. These same characters come back to help him when he needs it. The moral of the story is "do good and good will come back to you."
  Boockk | Feb 8, 2014 |
When Koi loses out on his share of his father's inheritance, he sets out into the world with only a bag of kola nuts to his name. His generosity towards a snake, some ants, and a crocodile during the course of his journey is rewarded when he comes to the village of Chief Fulikolli, and needs help completing the three tasks required to win his daughter's hand in marriage.

The tale of the hunter/wanderer who spares/helps three animals, and is in turn assisted in three "impossible" tasks is a widespread one, with many variants worldwide. This charming Liberian version of the story includes the almost ubiquitous sub-plot of the ants who sort out a field of grain, and emphasizes the rewards for generosity. Originally published as part of Aardema's 1960 collection, Tales from the Story Hat, Koi and the Kola Nuts presents an engaging story. With Joe Cepeda's bright illustrations - an excellent accompaniment to the tale - this book is sure to please enthusiasts young and old. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 9, 2013 |
Traditional literature, folk tale from Liberia.
Koi is the youngest son of the village Chief, but when the chief dies, he gets only a Kola tree instead of animals and ivory like his brothers. He decides to take the nuts from the tree and travel to change his luck. Along the way, he gives away his Kola nuts to help other creatures. No surprise to find that those acts of kindness will help his situation later on.

In Aardema's signature style, this tale includes the sound effects and tight structure and pattern of African tales. The illustrations are double page spreads in thick dark colors - sometimes the black text is hard to read easily. Overall, a fine story with a good "pay it forward" lesson.
  scducharme | Feb 29, 2012 |
A Liberian tale that teaches the importance of doing good for others. Interesting and colorful illustrations enhance this story about a boy who learns firsthand what is truly worthy of reward and how sharing what you have can be much better than keeping it all to yourself. For 1st - 4th graders.
  anacryan | Dec 5, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verna Aardemaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cepeda, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689856776, Paperback)

When Koi, the yongest son of Chief Ogumefu, learns that his only inheritance is a scraggly kola tree, he decides to travel the world. With only a sack of kola nuts on his back, Koi sets out on a wonderful journey in search of his own fortune, and learns a lesson: Do good and good will come back to you.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An African folktale in which the son of the chief must make his way in the world with only a sackful of kola nuts and the help of some creatures that he has treated with kindness.

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