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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Jai the Albino Cow: Jai Ng’ombe Zeruzeru is a bilingual (English and Swahili) story book for children written by Gloria D. Gonsalves and illustrated by Nikki Ng’ombe. Lutalo and his brother, Tokei, were Ankole cows who lived on the hillsides with their parents and their sister, Anjait. Anjait, or Jai as they liked to call her, was a beautiful albino cow. Her nose and eyes were pink, and her white hide was bright and shiny. The other cows in their area thought that she was cursed because she was albino, but her family knew she was special. When it came time for the Ankole cows to perform their ritual dance, their parents taught all three of their children to perform it, but when Jai danced, something magical happened.
Gloria D. Gonsalves’s Jai the Albino Cow is an enchanting fable that addresses the serious problems facing albinos in some parts of the world where they are considered, like Jai, to be cursed or to be the bringers of bad luck. I loved the introduction to Swahili that this book provides and found myself going from the English to the Swahili translations to try to determine which words were which. Nikki Ng’ombe’s illustrations are lovely, especially her paintings of the Koles Hills in bloom and Jai dressed in her floral finery for the dance. Jai the Albino Cow: Jai Ng’ombe Zeruzeru is most highly recommended.