Jaha and Jamil Went Down the Hill book cover image

Jaha and Jamil Went Down the Hill
An African Mother Goose

  • 795

By: Virginia Kroll / Illustrated by: Katherine Roundtree

Hey, diddle, diddle, Cricket did fiddle
While Firefly mimicked the moon.
Wildebeest rumbled
While Wild Dog grumbled, and Lion chased after Baboon.

Introducing Mother Goose as you've never seen her before! This unique look at Africa preserves all the charm of the original Mother Goose favorites while weaving a modern treasury of rhyme. Tantalizing color illustrations and patterned borders reveal the splendors of Africa's countries. A helpful map of Africa is included. Jaha and Jamil is sure to become a beloved classic.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Virginia Kroll, author

Virginia Kroll attended Canisius College and the State University of New York at Buffalo. She was formerly an elementary school teacher and has raised six children of her own. It was Virginia's love of children that led her to begin her career as a children's writer in 1984.

Virginia has a special talent for understanding and communicating with children. Her efforts to cross cultural lines and address multicultural issues have won her the praise of critics and readers.

Read more about Virginia.

Katherine Roundtree, illustrator

Katherine Roundtree graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design Katherine is an elementary school art teacher. She lived for many years with her extended family on the banks of the Ohio river, but currently resides in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Read more about Katherine.

Editorial Reviews:

Children's Literature

What an adventure; the traditional Mother Goose rhymes written as if she had visited various countries in Africa. This book embodies traditional and contemporary life in African nations as depicted in colorful illustrations that will capture the imagination of a young child. The lyrics are refreshing, new rhymes, yet familiar enough to recognize the original counterpart. A brief glossary of unfamiliar words and correct pronunciation of names would have been helpful. –Dr. Judith Campbell

Publishers Weekly

Following their Wood-Hoopoe Willie, Kroll and Roundtree team up again for an African take on Mother Goose. The concept is terrific: by altering the lyrics of 48 familiar rhymes, Kroll provides a virtual syllabus for study of African culture and wildlife. ``Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum'' becomes ``Fee, fi, fo, foo./ I smell the juice of vegetable stew./ With a scarf around my head,/ I'll grind the manioc to make our bread.'' But despite the sound concept and Kroll's graceful reshaping of the rhymes, the book is blemished by troublesome misjudgments. Roundtree's bright but literal interpretations of the rhymes serve the educational agenda at the expense of real emotional appeal. Ironically, that very agenda is hampered by the book's overambitious inclusion of data from 28 countries and its failure to explain foreign words. Ages 3-8. (Feb.)

School Library Journal

A unique offering. Kroll creatively captures the visual essence and diversity of the African continent and the poetic gaiety of Mother Goose. She includes 49 original verses that take on the rhythmic patterns of their traditional counterparts, e.g., "Little Child" corresponds to "Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat." The illustration of two young children eating and drinking from a bowl serves to complement the text: "Little Child, little child/Where are you from?/Far off in Africa, under the sun./Little Child, little child,/What do you eat?/Cassava and fishes, oh what a treat!" Twenty-eight countries are represented; full-color illustrations depict topography, urban centers, forest, jungle, desert, plain, and marketplace. Colors are rich and vibrant, reflecting the warmth of the African continent. A welcome, interesting addition. –Barbara Osborne Williams, Queens Borough Public Library, Jamaica, NY


ISBN: 978-0-88106-865-8

Ages: 3-6
Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
The Market Bowl