The Sleeping Baobab Tree – Book Review

Author: Paula Leyden
Publisher: Walker Press
ISBN: 978-1-4063-2793-9
Price: £5.99
Pages: 226
Age Group: 9+

The same day that Bul-Boo and Madillo learn about Ng’ombe Iiede – The Place of Death, as Sister Leonisa calls it – Fred is asked by his fearsome great-granny to accompany her to that very spot. Coincidence, or fate? Bul-Boo is sceptical but Madillo and a doom-laden Fred are convinced its a sign of impending disaster…

My Review
This is only the second book by Paula Leyden and is a punchy and beautiful story worthy of a well seasoned writer. Leyden won the prestigious Eilis Dillon Award for her début  The Butterfly Heart. Despite The Sleeping Baobab Tree being set in a country that I know little about – this story has a universal theme. We have twins who see the reality of illness thorough their medical parents, and Fred; who is destined to be a tribe leader, even with a name like Fred!

The twins decide that they will help their best friend, Fred, when he is asked to go and beat The Man Beast with his cranky witch great grandmother. This is a duel plot, we’re treated to the children’s story of the journey to The Sleeping Baobab  Tree and the missing aunt story line.

Each of the three characters were used for POV and I loved how Bul-Boo was into science and kept a notebook. Her twin, Madillo believes in magic and spells. The sisters are so different.

I loved the character of Sister Leonisa so much that I’d love a book all about her and her classroom!  Leyden did a fantastic job of forecasting with this character.

This is a book that adults would love, it’s well written and paints an intriguing picture of Zambia. All ages will love The Sleeping Baobab Tree for its powerful story telling.

Thank you to Walker Press for the review copy, another treasure to be added to my library.

For the teachers out there, here is the teachers guide.

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