From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-In this retelling of a traditional tale, young Ma'antah displays such extraordinary cleverness that she earns the nickname, Sense Pass King. The jealous monarch makes repeated attempts to dispose of the child, but ultimately brings her to live in his palace. When he falsely takes credit for slaying a seven-headed sea lizard and saving his future bride, feats accomplished by the pint-sized servant, the villagers have had enough of his dishonesty and cowardice. They drive him out of the kingdom, crown Sense Pass King queen, and all live happily ever after. Children will delight in the youngster's ability to outsmart grown-ups and find her way out of seemingly impossible predicaments. Expansive spreads of lush acrylic artwork are filled with humorous and, at times, magical details. In the final scene, Queen Ma'antah rubs the head of a panther with a snake perched on its back, while a curious audience of lizards, monkeys, and people look on in wonder. Such fantastic images and a clever story line make this a satisfying addition to folklore collections.Ajokei T. I. Kokodoko, Oakland Public Library, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
PreS.-Gr. 2. A wise, brave child outwits the silly powerful king in this lively West African folktale. Tchana first heard the story from her husband, who heard it when he was growing up in Cameroon. In the original, the child is a boy, but Tchana makes her a girl. Ma'antah is a prodigy, who, from the age of two, can speak the languages of all seven villages and communicate with animals. Soon the people call her Sense Pass King because she is cleverer even than their ruler. He tries to destroy her, but she escapes all his traps, and eventually the people drive him away, make Ma'antah their leader, and live in peace and prosperity. The triumph of the small, smart hero over stupid authority has elemental child appeal, and Hyman's sunlit acrylic double-paged paintings capture the traditional village setting and the individual people in clear, glowing detail. Always at the center is the proud, sturdy girl, who confronts a seven-headed fiery monster with the same wit and courage that she uses to defeat the jealous despot. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved