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Friday, May 29, 2015

Coomacka Island by Don Hooper (Children's Books 1,23)

Coomacka Island:
The Story of Spider & Ant
Written by: Don P. Hooper
Illustrated by: Darnel Degand
Children’s Adventure/Fiction
ISBN: 1-4120-9107-1
Trafford Publishing
www.coomacka.com

The Story of Spider and Ant, is the first book in a series written by Don P. Hooper and Illustrated by Darnel Degand. Coomacka is an uncharted Caribbean Island, where each of the stories takes place. Although the Islands itself is a fictional place, much of the inspiration is based on Afro-Caribbean folklore.In this story, Spider manipulates Ant by being dishonest and pretending to be injured. Ant, believing his friend, enlists his family to help. After working all day for Spider, the ants were tired. However, the selfish Spider had no compassion for the ants nor did he appreciate all their hard work. Reveling in his deception and trickery, the greedy spider celebrated. However, the truth was soon revealed. Realizing this is not how friends are supposed to interact; the ant sets out to teach the spider a lesson.

This beautifully written story has an important lesson hidden just below the surface. Books such as this, that teach silently, while entertaining loudly are rare finds indeed. In addition to the child’s bedside table, this series should be available at every preschool and daycare, elementary school and library. The rhythmic sounds of the island are beating within the colorful drawings. The expressive eyes of the characters convey genuine emotion. Hooper and Degand have delivered a fun, entertaining story that will keep children wide eyed and interested. And that’s exactly what a good children’s book should do!



Coomacka Island:Anansi Jr and the Mango Truck
Written by: Don P. Hooper
Illustrated by: Darnel Degand
Children’s Adventure/Fiction
ISBN: 1-4251-0143-7
Trafford Publishing
http://www.coomacka.com/

Anansi Jr and the Mango Truck is the second installment in the Coomacka Island series. Based in part, on Afro-Caribbean folklore, Anansi was the great trickster and somewhat of cult hero to islanders. For hundreds of years, folk tales about the Macka Tree and the spirits dwelling within roots have been passed down through the generations. As with many cherished stories, the fictional fires erupted from a spark of truth.

The story begins with AJ tending his garden, filled with beautiful plants, including his award winning Monkey Tail Shrub. There was only one thing that he loved more than gardening and that was eating. However, he was a very greedy spider and had never experienced the joy of sharing. Nevertheless, on this day, he would learn a valuable lesson about the spirit of giving and friendship.

Once again, Hooper and Degand have delivered a fictional tale, filled with life lesson of immense importance. From the first colorful page, the reader is transported to the heart of the Caribbean. The emotion-filled drawings bring the words, as well as, the island itself to life. Introducing names with various origins, such as Swahili or Haitian, offers children an opportunity to expand their vocabulary, while embracing cultural diversity. Although Coomacka Island is an uncharted, fictional Island, the morals and values found here have universal appeal.

Featuring an entertaining forward and fun facts at the conclusion, Hooper and Degand have created a multi-layered, multi-cultural series that will be cherished by children, parents and teachers the world over.

Happy Reading!
RJ


3rd-coomacka-island-book.jpg

Lenox Lizard and the Kukumacka Duppy
  Coomacka Island series *book 3
written by Don P Hooper
illustrated by Darnel Degand
ISBN 10: 1425129714
ISBN 13: 978-1425129712
Trafford Publishing
Ages 4-8


http://www.lastarksbooks.comwww.coomacka.com
 
The wildly popular, children’s Coomacka Island series returns with the third installment, entitled Lenox Lizard and the Kukumacka Duppy. Building on the success of the previous books, the creative team of Don Hooper and Darnel Degand continue to craft culturally diverse tales that are truly pleasure to read. The story opens with Lenox, the confident captain of the Fighting Peenywallies making his way to the stadium for some much needed extra practice. Enroute, he runs into his friends, Jamila and Amani on their way to Macka Street to buy some mangos. Even though Lenox loves mangos, he continues on to the stadium, determined to lead his team to their first victory in over a hundred years. Arriving at the stadium Lenox is shocked to see the Stoney Hill Scorpions on the field. Sulubu the Scorpions leader tries to intimidate and then to frighten the smaller lizard, by telling him the legend of the Kukumacka Duppy. Lenox has to make a choice, give into his fear and let his team down or confront his fears and do his best to lead the team to victory.

Combine Afro-Caribbean folklore, Haitian Creole and Swahili, blend it to lyrical perfection, then add the unique island flavor that is Coomacka and the result is an educationially sound, morally uplifting, down right fun children’s book that is a delightful read. Filled with emotion and eye-catching color, the detailed illustrations are visually stimulating and wholly engrossing. With each new installment the stories grow in depth, length and dimension leaving children and parents alike anxiously anticipating the next island adventure.

Don Hooper and Darnel Degand have delivered a fun book, exposing children to various cultures and laced with positive moral messeges. With the fun facts, definitions and questions included at the end, these little books pack powerful lessons. I highly recommend the Coomacka Series to anyone that has young children.

Happy Reading!

RJ
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