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Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Hardcover – January, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
From the Back Cover
Mufaro was a happy man. Everyone agreed that his two daughters were very beautiful. Nyasha was kind and considerate as well as beautiful, but everyone -- except Mufaro -- knew that Manyara was selfish, badtempered, and spoiled.
When the king decided to take a wife and invited "The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land" to appear before him, Mufaro declared proudly that only the king could choose between Nyasha and Manyara. Manyara, of course, didn't agree, and set out to make certain that she would be chosen.
John Steptoe has created a memorable modem fable of pride going before a fall, in keeping with the moral of the folktale that was his inspiration. He has illustrated it with stunning paintings that glow with the beauty, warmth, and internal vision of the land and people of his ancestors.--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In John Steptoe's version, inspired by an African folktale, the two sisters are both beautiful, but the beauty of one, Manyara, is only external. Her sister, Nyasha, the "Cinderella" character is beautiful inside and out. And her goodness doesn't consist just of doing what she's told to do. She's kind to all creatures, even Manyara. Furthermore, the king chooses her to be his queen not because of her beauty, but because he has secretly seen her her kindness and generosity (and her sister's meaness) in action. He chooses a good soul, not just a beautiful face. This version has all the elements that make Cinderella a classic, but ethically it's far, far better.
And as if that weren't enough, the illustrations in this book are sheer magic. More than any book we've read, this one has inspired in my daughter a fascination with Africa. The details of Steptoe's paintings, drawn from the plants, animals and architecture of Zimbabwe, are glorious. Everytime we read the book, my daughter and I talk about new things we notice about the pictures. I can't think of a single children's book I like better than this one.
Once there was a man with two beautiful daughters. Both were equal in loveliness, but different in temperament. While Nyasha was kind and good, Manyara was vain and cruel. When the king announces that he would like to meet these two girls and decide, between the two of them, which one he shall wed, the sly Manyara does her darndest to become queen and make her sister her servant.
The tale is vaguely disturbing in all the right ways. When Manyara sets out to get a jump on the king's affections by reaching the palace first, she comes across a series of odd sequences. A boy (with ears Spock himself would envy) is denied food, laughing trees are laughed back at, and a man with his head under his arm is ignored callously. The moral of the story is, of course, that to be good and kind is far better than to be cold and mean. Steptoe's illustrations lift this tale from being merely good to extraordinary. There is a realism to the characters that leaves the reader with little doubt that they were fashioned on real people. Steptoe has likewise stayed faithful to the land of Zimbabwe, where this tale is set. He has been inspired by everything from the architecture to the flora and fauna. But what I liked best was the clothing. The garments and jewelry of this story encase the characters, making each person practically a member of royalty.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My grandchildren, 8 and 9 years old thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.Published 8 days ago by Mary A. Thomas
I bought this to read to my niece. I loved this story as a child. Great pictures and the story has a great message.Published 22 days ago by Miranda Starks
Loved this book as a child! So happy it's still in print...Published 23 days ago by Lover_of_Action
This was my favorite book growing up as a child and I purchased it for a friend of mine daughter, it's a great book and the moral of the story is great and relatable at any age.Published 23 days ago by Ms.feirce