The Magic Callaloo


What an explosion of colour and joy! Bookwagon is rapt by The Magic Callaloo, a traditional story of African history, captivity and thereafter with parallels to Rapunzel.

What if there was a magical plant with leaves that offered its villagers anything they wanted. Wouldn’t they nurture it? Wouldn’t they be content?

However, what if a wicked man stole that plant away, drained it of its life essence so that only one, desperate leaf remained. Then might a couple, desperate for a child, new life, take the advice of a woman from Nowhere to find that leaf, to steal and use its last magic?

Might the wicked man discover their child and seize and enslave her, try to quell her bounteous hair until that same woman from Nowhere might reappear?

Alongside Trish Cooke’s traditional storytelling of such emotion and meaning, Sophie Bass’s pictures are explosive, kaleidoscopic and magnificent. Altogether, The Magic Callaloo is a dynamic and brilliant picture book to share, know and love.

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist


The Magic Callaloo

Trish Cooke, illustrated by Sophie Bass

(Walker Books)

‘The more the villagers watered and nurtured the- plant the more it grew.’ What’s more, eating its leaves granted wishes. It meant that everyone had ‘everything they needed and everything they wanted‘. It was The Magic Callaloo. However, what if a wicked man might steal the plant? Then again, what if his constant wishing withered the plant so that only one leaf remained? Could a couple, desperate for a child, pluck that remaining leaf? It seems there’s a woman from Nowhere who might direct them toward it…
Trish Cooke and Sophie Bass present a glorious, uproarious, brilliant picture book, a traditional African story with reminisces of Rapunzel. We wait for the woman from Nowhere to guide the couple, and then for the hopeful result. However, will she respect her father’s urges to stop singing her happy song? After all might the wicked man hear her and wreak revenge on the loss of that last leaf? Then again might this man seek to quell this girl’s joy, and calm her bounteous hair? We are reminded of an African history of enslavement…
Then again, we hope there might be some way for the girl with bounteous hair to escape anyone who might do her harm? It seems that woman from Nowhere has a way.
Bookwagon loves this wonderful picture book. Like Birrarung Wilam, for example, it speaks of tradition, of colours from other places and times, rich magic, hope and oral storytelling. We are delighted to recommend The Magic of Callaloo for reading aloud, sharing, offering at assemblies, knowing and loving.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “The Magic Callaloo”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…