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The Faithful Friend by Robert D. San Souci
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The Faithful Friend

by Robert D. San Souci

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Faithful friend was a retelling of an old folktale with several sources. It tells of two friends on the island of Martinique, one a white plantation owner's son, the other his African American friend, both of whom set out so that one of the boys can propose to a wizard's niece. The wizard's anger causes him to hire three zombie's to curse the newly weds, but his attempts are constantly thwarted by the second friend. In the end, the wizard's curse comes back to destroy him.

I wasn't expecting to like this story as much as I did. It has all the hallmarks of a folktale with a flair of West Indies culture. The illustrations match the African-ness of the story.

Students could research in the library West Indies or West African folktales and share them with the rest of the class. Students could do another research project on Caribbean islands and their individual cultures and heritages.
  CallieHennessee | Jul 15, 2015 |
This is a story about two friends who overcame magic and betrayal. Clement and Hippolyte are best friends. One day Clement ask Hippolyte to go with him to ask Monsieur Zabocat permission to marry his niece. After her uncle says no to the marriage proposal Pauline, Clement, and Hippolyte leave. Pauline and Clement plan to marry anyway. For three nights Hippolyte over hears three zombie women planning to kill Clement and Pauline. After Clement finds himself in an awkward situation he is forced to tell Pauline and Clement about the zombie women. Hippolyte turns to stone, but is soon returned to his human form. This would be a great story to read to students` to show how strong friendships are. It will also capture student`s attention because of how magic is used throughout the book. ( )
  jpons | Sep 18, 2014 |
Readers embark on a powerful journey to the island of Martinique in The Faithful Friend, where we follow the story Clement and Hippolyte-one. This book embraces the unity of two races, white and black. The illustrations in this reading accompany the suspenseful tone, with danger lurking at each and every corner. Each picture placed alongside the text, bring more life and meaning to what is being read. I appreciated the way the author choose to let the pictures speak, not focusing on merely the text as the main component. This book reveals amazing themes, perfect for the youth population; acceptance of differences, loyalty, and the elimination of stereotypes. I appreciate that the author brought positive insight to a time in history where many negative experiences occurred. When journeying to find circumstances where good values and morals are present, look no farther than this masterpiece! ( )
  nfigue1 | Sep 18, 2014 |
I really thought this book was unique and not like any other book that I read. I love how it shows the friend ship between a Caucasian and an African American boy, and can allow young children to see it in a more positive way. ( )
  TBegum1 | Sep 20, 2013 |
In this engaging folktale from the Caribbean island of Martinique, two life-long friends - Clement, the son of a wealthy land-owner, and Hippolyte, the son of the French-born widow who was hired as his (Clement's) nurse - set out together to meet the beautiful young woman whose image has caused Clement to fall in love. Performing a good deed upon their journey, the two friends eventually arrive at Monsieur Zabocat's plantation, where they discover that the lovely Pauline is just as enchanting in person, as she is in her portrait. Unfortunately, although it is obvious that she and Clement have fallen instantly in love, her uncle, reputed to be a quimboiseur, or wizard, forbids the match. When the couple, accompanied by Hippolyte, sets out to be married regardless, they are pursued by the evil magic of Monsieur Zabocat, and the three zombies that he has raised. Only Hippolyte is aware of the danger, and only he can save his friends: but at great cost to himself, should he ever reveal what he knows...

Chosen as a Caldecott Honor Book in 1996, as well as given a Correta Scott King Illustrator's Award Honor, The Faithful Friend pairs beautiful scratch-board illustrations by Brian Pinkney with a powerful story of loyalty and mutual sacrifice from Robert D. San Souci, who has retold many folktales over the course of his long career. I appreciated the author's detailed description of his source material - what he retained from the Martiniquais version of this story, and what he added in - and hope to track down Elsie Clews Parsons' collection of folklore from the Antilles, at some point. I was interested to see that this story likely evolved from similar European stories, such as Faithful John, from the Brothers Grimm. The Venetian tale, Pome & Peel, has a very similar plot as well. All in all, a most engaging selection, one I recommend to all young folklore enthusiasts. I only wish I could find more folktales from Martinique! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689824580, Paperback)

A friendship is tested by love and magic in this beautiful retelling of a traditional tale from the French West Indies.

On the lush tropical island of Martinique live Clement and Hippolyte, two inseparable friends. When Clement falls in love with the beautiful Pauline, Hippolyte agrees to join his best friend on his journey to propose marriage. But when Pauline accepts Clement’s proposal, it enrages her uncle Monsieur Zabocat—reputed to be a quimboiseur, a wizard. To prevent the wedding, the old wizard lures Hippolyte into a deadly trap, forcing him to choose between his friend’s safety and his own.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:20 -0400)

A retelling of the traditional tale from the French West Indies in which two friends, Clement and Hippolyte, encounter love, zombies, and danger on the island of Martinique.

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