Pape has this big picture book of first words. He loves pointing to a picture and waiting for us to say the name of the object. That’s not quite accurate. He loves pointing to pictures and that we say the name of the object, but he’s not the greatest at waiting for us to say one word before rapidly pointing to the next image. It quickly becomes chaos of pointing, saying half a wo-, pointing, sayin-, pointing, saying ha-, page flip, pointing… You get the idea.

Not only is this ‘reading’ experience a bit frustrating, but some the words he’s supposed to be learning are a bit useless if you’re growing up in Dakar. So I’m taking on the task of editing his picture book.


Left page: Totally works for Dakar. Bonus points for having ‘shorts’ instead of ‘pants’.

Right page: ‘Umbrella’, ‘raincoat’ and ‘boots’ should have a disclaimer that this vocabulary is only used during rainy season.

‘Scarf’, ‘gloves’ and ‘sweater’ are used in January and February when it dips down to those frigid 70s. Otherwise, only used sarcastically.

‘Handbag’ and ‘shoes’ work. Replace ‘dress’ with ‘boubou’ and ‘bow’ with ‘braids’.


Left page: A ‘clock’? What’s that for?

‘Bath’ and ‘window’ are fine.

Replace ‘house’ with ‘villa’ and get rid of that funky green stuff growing around it.

Right page: Keep all, but note that ‘television’ and ‘lamp’ don’t work during power cuts. Suggest adding ‘rechargeable flashlight’ and ‘generator’.


Left page: Only one change. Replace ‘juice’ with ‘bissap’ or ‘Foster Clark’s’.

Right page: That should be ‘fruit stand’ and the image should show that it’s on the side of the road, not in a store.

Cash register should not have any coins or small bills. Must always ask ‘shopper’ to provide exact change and then negotiate with gum, matchboxes or candies if the correct amount is not available.


Left page: Total reworking! Cut the leafy tree. Replace with an image of a bare baobab.

Cut the trash can. Replace with an image of trash not in a can.

Put some black paint on the car and write ‘Sante sama yaye’ on the back and slap the word ‘taxi’ on there.

Police officer needs sunglasses.

Restaurant can stay. We have lots of good restaurants.

Right page: ‘Bus’ needs more colors and people in order to become a ‘raapide’.

‘Traffic light’ and ‘stroller’. Ha ha, those are cute.

‘Crossing guard’. Oh, my sides!

‘Buildings’ can be called ‘Plateau’, the downtown district.

‘Bench’. Hmm… I did see some yesterday in Sacré Coeur. It can stay.

‘Mail’ has got to go. Replace with ‘Wandering salesman’ or ‘Phone card vendor’.

### end edits###

Interested buyers, take note! I will happily take a Sharpie to the pages of the book and mark up my editing notes. This one-of-a-kind item will be sold to the highest bidder and proceeds will go to Pape’s college fund.