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Children's Fiction General

The Orphan Boy

by (author) Tololwa Mollel

illustrated by Paul Morin

Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Initial publish date
Nov 2008
General, Anthologies
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2008
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 8
  • Grade: k to 3


One night the old man looked at the stars but one was missing! Suddenly he heard footsteps. He turned his head to see an orphan boy. The man and the boy lived together. The boy had a special secret that he said he couldn't share. The man's curiosity got the better of him and his life was changed forever.

This award-winning picture book is based on a Maasai legend about the planet Venus and tells of a loyal affection despite broken trust.

Accompanied by magnificent paintings of Africa.

About the authors

Tololwa Mollel is a children's author, dramatist and storyteller, who has written sixteen books and several plays as well as stories that he created or adapted for performance. His books include award-winning titles such as Orphan Boy, Rhinos for Lunch and Big Boy, and My Rows and Piles of Coins. His books have been translated into various South African languages and into Korean. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

Tololwa Mollel's profile page

Paul Morin,
an accomplished painter, sculptor and musician is also the illustrator of a number of children's books. He has also received 25 international awards for his book illustrations. In addition, Paul has won many accolades for his work, including ten awards from the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators, and a nomination for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Mr. Morin now lives near Rockwood, Ontario.

Paul Morin's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This is a book that will widen the world of its readers."
School Library Journal

"Mollel's elegant telling is lucid and tender, giving the story's familiar outline unusual appeal. Morin provides luminous paintings that capture the rich gold of slanting sunlight and the shadowed blues of night with uncommon drama and beauty... Outstanding."
Kirkus Review

     "It is a delight to see the book re-issued by Fitzhenry & Whiteside in what is, if anything, a bigger and better version of the same wonderful book. . . The heavily textured and intricate illustrations in The Orphan Boy are a delight. . .
     "There is much about the book that cannot better be described than with the word, "beautiful." Morin captures the beauty of traditional African dress and, although written in prose, Mollel's writing has a beautifully poetic, lyrical quality to it. The writing is descriptive and engaging. The sentences are generally short and direct, yet Mollel is able to say a lot with relatively few words. . .
     "Morin's use of light and shadows, as well as the texture of the artwork, adds depth to the illustrations. The illustrations alternate between depictions of the cool of night (with the heavy use of dark blues) and the stifling heat of the day (featuring dry, dusty yellows). This artistic use of such elements as light, colour and texture, make the artwork for this book timeless. Morin's artwork here is of the very highest order. . .
     "The Orphan Boy is a treat to the senses and has wide appeal. Children and their parents will be spellbound by Mollel and Morin's work.
Highly Recommended"
CM Magazine

"In 1990, The Orphan Boy won the Governor-General's Award for Illustration, and the book won several other awards in the following two years. Almost 20 years on, The Orphan Boy has been reissued with, as the publisher's blurb announces, a brand-new cover, eight additional pages and nine "breath-taking" new paintings. This is a case in which, for once, there is truth to the apparent hyperbole: more is more in this case, and it's more, especially, of Paul Morel's superb paintings."
The Globe and Mail

"Now available in a beautiful new edition. . . An enthralling folktale that respects and honors the traditions of the Maasai people, The Orphan Boy, is highly recommended, especially for children's public library collections."
The Midwest Book Review

Other titles by Tololwa Mollel

Other titles by Paul Morin