Phillis Gershator







About me



Palampam jacket


co-author, David Gershator

illustrated by Enrique O. Sanchez

Cavendish, 1997

* Kaleidoscope, National Council of English Teachers, 2001

From the book jacket:

     Don’t pick me, mon! Turo is astonished to hear a coconut say just as he reaches out to pick it. Muchacho, don’t listen to those coconuts. They’re nutty, the parrot in the kapok tree calls down. Turo hears from the dog, the cat, even the frog in the rain barrel--even the sweet potatoes he tries to dig up to eat. What’s this roogoodoo? Turo wants to know--what is going on?
     Down the road, Turo’s neighbor Mrs. Zephyr, is having trouble with her talking bananas, and the Fisherman can’t sell any of his talking fish! Everyone shrugs and says it must be one of those days. Only Papa Tata Wanga might know what’s happening--he knows all the island’s secrets.
     Palampam Day--the day all things find their voice and say whtever they want in any language under the Caribbean sun--comes only once in a true blue moon. Follow Turo through a most unusual day as he discovers the special magic it takes to restore order to his island home.
     Lush paintings shimmer with the brilliant colors of the tropics in this sparkling Caribbean story.

A little about the book:

From Phillis--
     Among the editors who encouraged us, Judith Whipple is at the top of the list. David has a quirky sense of humor and is a linguist. I have a knack for readalouds. Between us, we wrote some funny stories, and Judith Whipple was willing to help us improve them. What a great collaboration!
     Palampam Day was inspired by a popular African tale and life and language in the islands. “Palampam” or “pampalam” is an old- time island word for “noise.

From David--

     After you’ve been in the Caribbean a while, the coconuts start talking to you, and if some of them happen to be linguists, well, then it gets even more interesting.

From the reviews:

“Colorful acrylic gouache paintings illustrate this charming tale set in the West Indies.... An excellent multicultural selection as the tale includes vocabulary (and a glossary) of words from many languages spoken in the West Indies.” Children’s Book Review Service

“The rollicking story plays with the different languages spoken in the West Indies, and children will enjoy reciting the name of each thing Turo encounters.... the softly colored, gently humorous illustrations add another layer to the Caribbean setting.” Booklist

“This is a charming readaloud for comparing with other variants of the tale and for thinking about the ethnic, cultural, and language diversity of the Caribbean region.” Five Owls, selected title.

“...a book that will be enjoyed solo or in a group, over and over again.” School Library Journal