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When Sword Met Bow by Aya Katz - a Book Review

Updated on October 25, 2011

Aya Katz’s When Sword Met Bow is a delightful tale for parents or teachers to read to kids ages two to seven.  Well maybe even beyond if your child will experience a new baby to the family.  As I got hold of the copy of this book sent by Aya, I waited for a chance to read it to the kids.  I was excited to see their reactions.

“Would you like me to read you a story?” I asked two of our students who were in my office as they were waiting for their parents to pick them up.

“Yes!” they shouted in unison.

The story began with a little girl named Sword and the new baby in the family!  Not exactly your usual baby, it was a chimpanzee son named Bow.  The photos found in the book were very helpful as the kids excitedly pointed to the photos. 

“Okay, maybe I was small, and maybe I couldn’t do much, but I never wore diapers!”  I read aloud what Sword said to her mother.

Three year old Bree giggled, “I wore diapers too!”

“Yes, when I was a baby,” Kimi chimed in.  So together we looked at the photos of Sword as a baby wearing her diapers.

The following day, Kimi asked me to read to her the book again.
The following day, Kimi asked me to read to her the book again.

They didn’t have much patience for me to read the whole paragraph and wanted me to flip the next page quickly.  I ended up describing the photos to them and what Sword and Bow was up to.  There was Bow crying at night, sleeping and playing and hugging Sword back!  As a storyteller, it is best if you have read the book beforehand and know it by heart.

“Did you like the story?”  I asked the two girls.

“Yes! Can I have another story?”  And Bree held my hand and brought me to the bookshelf and pointed to another book about animals in the farm.  Kids love animals.  Well not all of them apparently as a five year old boy looked at the cover of the book and told me he didn’t want to have a chimpanzee in the house. 

Chris, Alessa and John quietly browsing through the book.
Chris, Alessa and John quietly browsing through the book.

Kids can read the book or look at the photos by themselves

Half an hour later, another set of kids went inside the office. Four year old Chris, Alessa and John curiously received the book from me and sat down in the small table. Alessa took charge and flipped the pages quietly while the two boys looked on. They asked questions along the way. Why did the girl have a chimpanzee? Why was Bow scared of the dog? Why was Bow always sleeping?

When it was done, John’s mom arrived and so he had to go home already. Chris pulled the chair closer to the table asked Alessa if he can read the book too. Alessa said, “No, I’ll do it!”, and I had to ask her to give Chris a chance. Good thing she relented.

Kids love stories and those in the afternoon class were not an exception.  I asked them if they had brothers and sisters.  Jasper declared, “I have an older sister!” while the other kids said they didn’t have any.  “Would you like to have a younger brother or sister?”  I asked.  They all wanted one.

I got to read the thirty or so pages to them with a lot of questions in between.  They asked the words that they couldn’t understand like bassinet, clung, suspiciously and so on.  They were interested with the story that’s for sure as seen by their questions and rapt attention.  A story is a perfect way to help a child deal with the lessons in life like having a new baby in the house. 

“Is the chimpanzee real?”  Andrei asked again when we reached the end of the book.  “Yes, he is real.  See here’s a photo of Bow all grown up and Sword too!”  I showed him the photo of Bow and Sword who are older now.   I read, “Aya Katz lives in the rural Ozarks with her daughter, Sword, and her adopted chimpanzee son, Bow.” 

“Oh!”  He said long and loudly.

“Did you enjoy the story?”  Their resounding ‘yes’ said it all. 

Buy a copy of the book today.

The kids from the afternoon class listening intently to the story 'When Sword Met Bow'

Buy books by Aya Katz

Related Articles

How You Can Help Project Bow

Bow is the first bilingual chimpanzee to achieve literacy. Help Project Bow with your time, write a review, buy 'When Sword Met Bow' and give it away, read this book to other kids or offer your services as a computer programmer! Read more to know about Project Bow.


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    • Shahe Asekeen profile image

      Md Shahe Asekeen 

      7 years ago from Bangladesh

      nice one. :)

    • chuckandus6 profile image

      Nichol marie 

      7 years ago from The Country-Side

      Great Article thanks for sharing. sounds like a great book

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice review, and the photos of the children enjoying the book are just priceless!

    • teacherstel profile image


      7 years ago

      Saw you reading the books to the kids and how they were listening intently... :) Wonderful!

    • Rhonda Waits profile image

      Rhonda Musch 

      7 years ago from The Emerald Coast

      This was a great review and sounds like a really great book. Voted up.

      Sweet wishes Rhonda

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Sweetiepie, that is is sweet of you. Thank you for dropping by to read this hub! I truly enjoyed documenting the kids reactions! :)

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Earth Angel, this is wonderful news! My morning is off to a great start too :) Blessings to you too my friend!

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Dottie, that is a cool idea! I am sure that will make Aya, Sword and Bow happy! LOL Go, go, go! I don't know about Koko though. :)

    • ripplemaker profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Simtoco 

      7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Marie, I had fun observing their reactions. The best thing was if I didn't get to finish reading the book, they would come back the next day and ask me to continue with the story. :)

    • SweetiePie profile image


      7 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I have been keeping up with Aya's blog about Bow, and I always enjoy hearing about their new adventures. You did a good job of documenting the kids reactions to the book.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      7 years ago

      What a wonderful way to start the morning Michelle!

      Aya's book, your teaching stories and the photos are delightful!

      I'll order it today!

      Blessings always, EarthAngel!

    • Dottie1 profile image


      7 years ago from MA, USA

      Nice review Michelle of Aya's book! This book brought to mind my all time favorite book 'Koko' that I loved to read my children when they were young! You perhaps know that story that Koko a gorilla who understood words and responded by sign language. Koko also adopted a kitten named 'All Ball'. See I loved that book, I want to tell you the whole story! And now I want to read 'When Sword Met Bow'. Hmmmm, you have given me an idea! I'll buy it so I can read it and then I will give it away to my neighbor who teaches preschoolers! Oh ya, they will just love this!

    • VioletSun profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      This was a very well done review, made me smile. The best critics are the children, they responded well to Aya Katz' story. I wish Aya a lot of success! Loved the photo of you reading to Kimi. :)


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