Friday, February 29, 2008

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Title: Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Author: John Steptoe (also the illustrator)
Country: USA
Year: 1987
Rating: 5 out of 5

Just take a look, it's in a book - reading rainbow!

I had a little rush of excitement when I picked up this book and saw the reading rainbow sign. I haven't read a Reading Rainbow book in years!! And this one certainly does not disappoint.

First sentence: A long time ago, in a certain place in Africa, a small village lay across a river and half a day's journey from a city where a great king lived.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is based on an African folk tale first published in 1895; the illustrations were inspired by the ruins of an ancient city found in Zimbabwe. Both of Mufaro's daughters are beautiful on the outside. However, while Nyasha treats both the animal and human kingdom with love and kindness, her sister Manyara is a tad, prideful. When the king starts looking for a woman to be his queen, both sisters start out on a journey to the king's city to appear before him.

Both the story and illustrations are beautiful. You could spend all day with a young child pointing out all of the interesting tidbits found in the illustrations on each page (of course, what young child has that kind of attention span!). This picture book would be a great way to introduce your kids to folk talks from other cultures, as this one has a universal theme (a moral lesson on pride), and bears some similarity to the Western fairy tale Cinderella.


Cult of Jef said...

You know, I read this book at one of our children's storytimes at our bookstore a while back. It has a great message.

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