Reviews for Herd Boy

Booklist Reviews 2012 December #2
It's a big job for a small boy. Malusi cares for his grandfather's sheep and goats, and this title's dramatic, accessible images show him working barefoot in the South African veld as he shouts at the hungry baboon who hopes to grab a lamb (Hamba! Go away!), and he is careful to avoid the snake coiled up beneath the grass. His friend laughs when Malusi shares his dream of becoming president. But then one day, a big car, shiny and new, stops at the village, and the passenger (whom many will recognize as Nelson Mandela) tells the boys that, at their age, he also looked after sheep. Daly's beautiful watercolor artwork--rendered in thick black lines and lots of red and green accents--captures the daily struggle in the poor, rural village from the child's viewpoint as well as the beauty and the harshness of the landscape. The back matter includes a note confirming that Mandela was indeed a herd boy in his village, and a glossary that reflects the rich South African mix across cultures. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

ForeWord Magazine Reviews 2013 - Spring Issue: March 1, 2013

Young Malusi tends to his grandfather's goats and sheep in South Africa. When a baboon attacks one of the lambs, Malusi must decide how to handle the situation. Is there a lesson in this experience for a little herd boy who dreams of being president? This gentle, atmospheric story of morals is as lovely to look at as it is to read. Ages six to ten.

© 2013 ForeWord Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Herd boy Malusi has grander ambitions: to be president. After making a courageous rescue of their flock from baboons, Malusi and his friend Lungisa see a fancy car drive up. Inside is a man (clearly Nelson Mandela, though unnamed) who offers encouragement to Malusi to pursue his dream. Daly's expansive illustrations highlight the beauty of the South African landscape's rocky austerity. Glos.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #1
Malusi is a herd boy who tends his grandfather's sheep and goats. At the grazing slopes, he must step carefully to avoid snakes, and he is always alert for dangers to the herd. His friend Lungisa dreams of someday playing football (soccer), but Malusi has grander ambitions: to be president. After the boys make a courageous rescue of the flock from hungry baboons, they see a fancy car drive up. Inside is a man (clearly Nelson Mandela, though he isn't named in the text) who offers encouragement to Malusi to pursue his dream. (An appended author's note explains that Mandela, "a great and much-loved man of our own time," was himself a herd boy from a "humble, rural background.") Throughout the story, Daly provides a palpable feel for daily life in modern rural South Africa, from tending livestock to collecting dung pebbles. His expansive illustrations highlight the beauty of the landscape's rocky austerity, while the rich orange of Malusi's cloak (and occasional flowers) provides a welcome contrast to the abundance of earth tones. Thoughtful pacing allows for appreciation of both the tale's action and its quieter moments. Some Afrikaans and Xhosa words are incorporated into the text; a glossary is appended. susan dove lempke

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
A day in the life and dreams of a young South African herding boy. Daly provides an opportunity to witness an everyday existence most likely very different from the one led by readers. Malusi is a Xhosa herder. Daly sketches his day, from his porridge breakfast to taking the sheep and goats out to graze, a little play with his friend, gathering dung to fertilize the garden, a dangerous encounter with a baboon and then home again. There is an elemental rhythm to the story, and the artwork is striking, the colors a mottle of landscape greens and browns, picked out by vivid wildflowers. The author salts the common proceedings with Malusi's dreams of a better lunch, owning a dog and becoming president of the country one day. (Nelson Mandela makes a brief appearance, reminding readers that he, too, was a herd boy.) Also sprinkled here and there are a sampling of words from South Africa--both Xhosa and Afrikaans; kraal, donga, googa--that are corralled into a glossary, as well as local fauna, from black eagles to puff adders to those opportunistic baboons. Malusi's life may be cut to the essential, but it is never short on incident and for the need to be on his toes. Affectionate and existential, Daly has well and fully caught Malusi's immediate circumstance and his horizons. (Picture book. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 August #4

Malusi has a blue hat, a red blanket, and a difficult job: trying to keep his grandfather's sheep and goats safe from baboons. He has to watch for snakes and prevent his animals from falling into the ravine. "You have to be awake, and you have to be brave, to be a herd boy," writes Daly (Pretty Salma). Malusi also has a dream: he wants to be president, and when Nelson Mandela's car happens to drive by (it seems surprisingly believable), Mandela tells Malusi that he was once a herd boy himself. "Ah, a boy who looks after his herd will make a very fine leader. Sala kahle , Mr. President." While the episode is imagined, the message is clearly one of hope; Daly gives children like Malusi reason to believe that, despite their humble circumstances, they, too, can aspire to the nation's highest office. And Daly's portrait of rural South African life--the growls of baboons, the taste of maize porridge, and the view of the village enclosure from above--gives his story an almost cinematic dimension. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 November

Gr 1-3--Malusi looks after his grandfather's sheep and goats in rural South Africa. Every day, while it is still dark, he takes his herd to the grazing slopes. There, he must keep them safe from the ravine and snakes. "It's a big job for a small boy/…you have to be brave, to be a herd boy." His friend Lungisa, who dreams of playing soccer, and Malusi, who dreams of being president, play games and stick-fight while they watch over the animals. After Malusi bravely fends off a starving baboon, he gingerly cares for a wounded lamb and carries it back to his village. Then, in a highly believable moment, Nelson Mandela pulls up in his car and encourages Malusi by telling him, "a boy who looks after his herd will make a very fine leader." Daly does an extraordinary job of illustrating the story through detailed, gorgeously rendered images of the country. In addition, spot art illuminates textual references and unseen events. The glossary of Afrikaans and Xhosa words and an author's note clarify the text. This is a touching, eloquent story about a young boy who could be any child. Filled with hope and promise, it will inspire children to embrace their place in life and dream big.--Nancy Jo Lambert, Ruth Borchardt Elementary, Plano, TX

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