From Publishers Weekly
Originally transcribed in the Portuguese of colonial Guinea-Bissau, these 10 lively stories feature the familiar creatures of the jungles and savannas: monkeys, lions, leopards, hippos and more. Barbosa enhances the African setting by framing each tale within the more particular context of an African village. To introduce the fable of a tortoise and leopard who fall into the same trap, for example, the author begins by presenting village children who are enamored of a great hunter: "What impressed them most was the number of amulets that decorated his body and his spear shaft." Easily read aloud within three or four minutes, each entry proceeds naturally, its shrewd humor producing subtle lessons. Fittipaldi's exuberant illustrations, based on traditional Yoruban art (found on Africa's east coast), spice up the African taste. An afterword by Guthrie explains the place of these stories in an oral tradition that extends to many cultures. Ages 7-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-6, younger for reading aloud. For those looking for yet another volume of African folklore, this handsome little treasure does a commendable job of showcasing the crowd-pleasing stories of weaker animals outsmarting their betters that are so typical of African fables. Although the themes are old, these 10 traditional tales collected in Guinea-Bissau may be new to many children. Whether the tortoise is outwitting the leopard or the spirit gods are banishing the hippos to live forever in the water, the traits of patience and ingenuity are emphasized. Fittipaldi's unabashed illustrations based on Yoruba art create a many-hued kaleidoscope to help turn these engaging tales. Denia Hester