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The Mean Hyena: A Folktale from Malawi Hardcover – September 1, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3. A traditional Malawian trickster tale. The first and last double-page spreads show a storyteller visiting a classroom filled with eager listeners. "Don't play a trick on someone unless you want an even bigger trick played on you," she says at the end. And such is the lesson, learned by Fisi the hyena as he plays a trick on Kamba the tortoise that leaves the poor creature stuck in a tree. But Kamba is clever, and after a night of pondering he devises a plan to get revenge by offering to paint beautiful new coats for all of the animals. While the zebra gets new stripes and the leopard spots, Fisi gets his just reward with a sticky, patchy coat. Sierra's humorous yet lyrical text coupled with Bryant's bold watercolor illustrations of the animals of the African savanna make this retelling a natural for reading aloud and storytelling sessions. A must for all folktale collections.?Marilyn Iarusso, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

How the hyena got his laugh, how the zebra got his stripes, and how the leopard got his spots are revealed in this African folktale. After Fisi, a hyena, tricks Kamba, a tortoise, and leaves him stuck in the crook of a tree, the tortoise plots a slow, steady revenge. He chews on bark to make a paint brush and calls over animals to decorate their coats. Kamba gives the zebra stripes and the leopard spots, lavish enough to make Fisi jealous. When the hyena comes to have his coat painted, the tortoise gives him a coat of sticky gum, making the hyena the laughing stock of the jungle. The story starts and endsabruptly and unnecessarilywithin the frame of a storyteller speaking to a class, and although Bryant's animals are vastly appealing, his palette can appear muddy. The book is nevertheless a useful addition to folklore collections. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 570L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; Ex-library edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525675108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525675105
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,411,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Judy Sierra's picture book texts have won the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award, Parents' Choice awards, Children's Choice awards, Readers' Choice awards from many of the 50 states, and have been named Notable Books by the American Library Association.

Visit her website: http://www.judysierra.net

Judy's newest picture book is E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm (With a Little Help from a Hen). "Kids have been singing about Old Mac for fifty years or more, but until now, no one has explained how he got that farm of his. After a bit of sleuthing, combined with spoofing, I discovered that this agricultural legend owes a lot to a famous chicken, the Little Red Hen, who helped him turn an annoying lawn into a productive organic farm, complete with farmstand."

Judy Sierra has been writing for children for 25 years. She lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon.

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