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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
True Friends: A Tale From Tanzania
by John Kilaka
Age Range: 6-8
Elephant and Rat are the best of friends. Rat is the only animal who can make a fire and he works hard planning and saving for the difficult times that may lie ahead, while Elephant is lazy and does no work at all. When drought comes Elephant succumbs to fear and greed and takes advantage of his friend's generosity by tricking him into storing his grain at his house under the guise of guarding it. When Rat asks for its return Elephant refuses.
An angry and disappointed Rat decides to leaves the village. Elephant becomes fearful that Rat will return and burn down his house in retribution. After Elephant falls out of a tree and hurts himself hiding from Rat he asks the other animals for help. When this is unforthcoming he realizes that he must apologize to his friend and learn the meaning of true friendship.
A traditional Tanzanian animal fable brought to life with gentle humour, memorable characters, and bold, richly coloured illustrations that add a real sense of place to the story. True Friends was the winner of the Bologna Ragazzi New Horizons Award in 2005.