Trouble

TroubleTrouble by Jane Kurtz. Illustrated by Durga Bernhard (1997) Reading Level: Ages 4-8. 40 pages. Gulliver Books. ISBN: 0152002197.

A story set in Eritrea (based on a traditional tale) about a boy who keeps getting into trouble. His father finds the solution: a gebeta game. When Tekleh seems not to be able to stay out of trouble, his father gives him a gebeta board. While Tekleh spends the day caring for the goats he encounters several groups of people. He trades his game, first for a knife, then a musical instrument, a drum, a bag of corn, and a papaya. Finally he trades for another gebeta board. When he returns to his unsuspecting father, his father is convinced that the game has sheltered his son from harm. Bernhard's illustrations are created in gouache, opaque watercolors, with warm earth tones as prominent colors.

Now back in print and available as a bilingual edition.  Available from Ethiopia Reads.
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Honors/Reviews of original edition:
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • "... this will be useful for classes studying Africa, Tekleh also has a universal appeal that should be popular with young listeners everywhere. Appended with source notes and a glossary of foreign terms." -- Booklist
  • "From Kurtz (Miro in the Kingdom of the Sun, 1996, etc.), the lively Eritrean story of a young boy with a magnetic attraction to trouble. An author's note discusses the story's origins; Bernhard's illustrations provide an enchanting window into the culture and people of Eritrea. (map, glossary)." -- Kirkus Review
  • "Tekleh's father believes that giving his wayward son a new game--a gebeta board--will keep him out of trouble. Tekleh's journey proceeds from left to right in the flat, earth-toned paintings, encouraging readers to turn the pages of this humorous Eritrean tale." -- The Horn Book

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONSMANCALAABOUT TROUBLE