Song Bird

When their cattle mysteriously disappear and Mariamu’s parents have to clear a wild overgrown field to grow more food, a magical bird appears and strikes a bargain with Mariamu. If she helps the bird to protect her eggs, the bird will help Mariamu’s family recover the missing cattle. Shortly later, Mariamu is off on a fantastic journey to the night time realm of a gruesome monster. The power of a promise, and of a song, infuses this marvelous adventure, adapted from a traditional story and accompanied with bright, whimsical illustrations.

Song Bird begins

There once was a land with so many cattle it was called Kung’ombe—land of countless cattle. But one night they all disappeared.

Without their cattle, life became hard for the people of Kung’ombe, including Mariamu and her parents.


An engaging and well told story


Expressive watercolor illustrations.


[Mollel] studs his narrative with rhythmic Swahili chants which readers will likely want to sing out loud.

Publishers Weekly