Review of “Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me” by Dzagbe Cudjoe

A review of Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe
Posted by: PEAdmin on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 – 11:28 AM Print article Printer-friendly page Email to a friend Send this story to someone
Reviews of Books
Reviewed by Teresa Aguilar

Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me
by Dzagbe Cudjoe
Strategic Book Publishing
Paperback: 52 pages, October 8, 2008, ISBN-13: 978-1934925874

Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe is overall a well written collection of stories. The Author shows imagination and creativity , a natural story-teller. This is intended to be a children’s book, but I found that it was a little too detailed for a younger child to read without getting distracted. I would recommend this book for children age 9 and up.

A very nice dedication to the author’s father included, and the book design was excellent. The picture included in the first story may be too scary for some younger children but all the others pictures would catch a child’s interest. I would have liked to have read more about the author to get a sense of her connection with Ghanaian culture. I hope in her next book she includes a photo and a little background information on herself. These stories are from the mind of the Author, but reading them you would think they were really stories passed down through generations.

The first story in this book is “The Wicked Curse of Nibobobo” about a young man Fetu who wanted to marry Niniana a girl in his village but his father forbade him. The trouble that results from a curse made in revenge by Nibobobo, the mother of Niniana, affects the whole village. Fetu, Niniana, and a third character Ade then volunteer to take on the task of going to Great-Spirit-Who-Created-All-That-Is-On-This-Earth to remove the curse affecting the village. The three must pass all the trials given to them on their journey to prove themselves worthy of the great spirits help.

The next story “Akua’s Foolish Wish” went into too much detail on the making of clay pots and a child may lose interest in the story before they get to the actual story line of Akua. Once it goes into the story of Akua and her wish that the commemorative figure she has made of a great chief can speak then the story moves along well. The story is humorous and children will enjoy the rest of the tale.

“The Fingers of Fire story” is, by far, my favorite story in the whole book. A tale of Falisimu and his growing up in his Uncle Bendu’s home. The story describes how he came into his uncle’s care and met Laliya a girl close to Falisimu’s age. It goes into detail of what the lives of the children and adults were like in Northern Ghana which was interesting. It is an imaginative and spiritual story of two children creating an invention with the help of voices of fire and earth and finding out it’s use for the good of all.

The final story “Journey To The Chest Of Gold” was rather odd and out of place compared with the other stories in this book. I didn’t get the point of time traveling school trips and being invisible. Time travel can be interesting as a story in itself but compared with the other stories it did not fit with the tales a grandmother would tell about myths and legends of Ghanaian culture. The talking gold weights made no sense whatsoever to me either. A child might enjoy the inanimate objects talking to one another but overall the tale was just strange. But the last three photos at the end of this story including actual gold weights was a surprising bonus.

About the reviewer: Teresa Aguilar is a stay-at-home mom who lives near Lake Fork in Emory, Texas. Married for over 17 years with three children, the whole family shares a interest in books of all genres. She aspires to own a book shop of her own one day. Her time is spent raising her children and her miniature dachshunds and one orange tabby cat. She also tries to grow trees in clay, and finally having some success, maybe to have some shade in the future to read under. She would also like to say thank you to her cousin Jeanneta who read “The Hobbit” to her when she was a small child and started her love affair with books. compressed resized
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