Kioko has been watching the matatus come and go for as long as he can remember. On his fifth birthday, he gets the chance to climb aboard one with his grandfather. As the matatu pulls away from the market, several village dogs chase after it. Kioko wonders why the dogs always bark and chase after matatus. When he asks his grandfather about it, his grandfather tells Kioko an entertaining tale about a dog, a goat and a sheep. Set in East Africa and inspired by a Kamba folktale, The Matatu is a colorful story filled with unexpected twists and turns.
"Campbell fills her oil paintings with bright colors and commotion, portraying her animals with trickster-like characteristics. Walters offers tender insight into a grandfather and grandson relationship, while depicting a unique cultural experience."
"With a wry mix of realism and folklore, Walters draws on his work in rural Kenya to tell the story of Kioko...Campbell’s bright, mischievous watercolors show the passengers on the crowded seats with the conductor picking his way down the aisle collecting fares, along with close-up images of Kioko as he listens to his beloved grandpa tell a story while they drive through dusty roads past huts, houses, and market stalls. Along with the vivid setting, there is a playful story based on a Kamba folktale...The bond between Kioko and his grandpa will grab kids, and so will the sly twist when the boy tries to fix things and change the old folktale."
"Oil paintings provide realistic details of contemporary rural Kenya but include a few spreads in which the animals humorously take on anthropomorphic characteristics. The author's note, drawing upon his Kenyan experiences, will amuse adults...The love and respect shown between Kioko and his grandfather is both universal and sweetly evident."