Much like Songs in the Shade of the Flamboyant Tree, which I reviewed previously, Songs in the Shade of the Olive Tree is a book and CD set that features nursery rhymes and lullabies in their native tongue. This time the collection features rhymes and songs from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia and “draws children into a musical journey across North Africa, from the Sahara Desert through the Atlas Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea”.
Songs in the Shade of the Olive Tree: Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes from the Maghreb features 30 traditional story-songs reproduced in Arabic with full English translations in the text, including notes on the origin and cultural context of each song.
My children where enchanted with Nathalie Novi’s colourful illustrations, the perfect accompaniment to the included music CD. As I’ve mentioned before, I love comparative folklore so these books geek me right out. But they are also a big hit with my kids. They love the music and they love learning about far away lands. The one thing my girls picked up from this book immediately is the importance of rain in arid countries. The first time we listened to the CD the selection of nursery rhymes about rain had my daughters asking questions about dry lands and doing an impromptu rain dance all up and down the hallway that had me giggling in delight.
Overall I think this book & CD set would make a wonderful addition to any child’s collection. The book is available for purchase directly from The Secret Mountain website for $22.95. Or you can purchase the digital download, which includes not only the music from the CD but also printable PDF files of the illustrations and song lyrics, for $12.50.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review. As always my words and opinions are my own.