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Phillis Gershator



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Ratapata jacket

Rata-pata-scata-fata

illustrated by Holly Meade

Star Bright Books, 2005







*Junior Library Guild Selection
*30 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts, 1995
*Booklist’s Best Black History for Young People, 1995
*Americas Award (CLASP), 1994
*Jacket art featured on a Peaceable Kingdom greeting card
*Kaleidoscope, National Council of English Teachers, 1997
*Adventuring with Books, National Council of English Teachers, 1997
*Raising a Reader selection

From the book jacket:

   Little Junjun is a dreamer. He likes to sit outside his island home and watch the lizards slither across the yard, feel the warm sun on his face, and savor the tasty tamarind jam his mother makes. But there is always a lot of work to do. Oh, if only there were a way the chores would get done all by themselves! What if Junjun says a magic word, like rata-pata-fata-scata? Will that make his wish come true?
     Silly phrases, pleasing repetition, and a satisfying ending make Phillis Gershator’s story an ideal read-aloud. And Holly Meade’s bright, distinctive torn-paper collages bring to life the beauty and spirit of the Caribbean setting. Inspired by an actual old West Indian nonsense phrase, Rata-pata-scata-fata is a spicy, irresistible picture book.


A little about the book:

         Megan Tingley, Rata-pata-scata-fata’s editor, was truly my collaborator in writing this story about a boy who believes in magic. It was my first story set in the Caribbean, my home now, the place where I’ve lived longer than anyplace else. Rata-pata-scata-fata was published by Little, Brown in 1994 and then went out of print for a few years. But children still liked repeating Junjun’s magic words and hoping, like him, that something magical would happen when they did, so Star Bright, to my great joy, re-published the book in 2005. Dave Hall sings the rata-pata song on our CD for kids called "This Is the Day! Storysongs & Singalongs"--so get ready to repeat those magic words tunefully, over and over!

From the reviews:

“...Meade’s torn paper collages are a joyous accompaniment to this tall tale from the Caribbean....Her luscious palette, dynamic compositions and expertly shifting perspectives beguile the viewer.” Publishers Weekly

“A gentle and affectionate tale.... Delightful...an unobstrusive introduction to the lush flora and fauna of the Virgin Island.” Booklist, boxed review.

“...a lively and well-paced story that is sure to delight young listeners with its sense of fun.” Horn Book

“...light and lively sense of language. Just as lighthearted...are Meade’s illustrations...a happy celebration of Caribbean childhood.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books