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Rabbit makes a monkey of lion : a Swahili tale /

With the help of his friends Bush-rat and Turtle, smart and nimble Rabbit makes a fool of the mighty but slow-witted king of the forest. Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: Pinkney, Jerry,
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989
Edition: First edition.
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With the help of his friends Bush-rat and Turtle, smart and nimble Rabbit makes a fool of the mighty but slow-witted king of the forest.

Review by Booklist Review

Ages 5-8. Out of the folklore tradition in which a wily little creature outwits a big, brawny opponent comes this Swahili tale. When Rabbit and her friends Bush-rat and Turtle steal the honey that Lion claims as his, they stir up his wrath. Each time he tries to avenge his loss, one of the tricky critters manages to outsmart him, resulting in the cry, ``That little rascal made a monkey of me!'' Pinkney's soft-line drawings, rich with subtle, overlapping watercolors, capture the drama of the tale. The full-color illustrations depend heavily on greens and tans, which the artist uses to create a series of pleasantly varied settings. His lively characters express their emotions convincingly without becoming more or less than the animals they are. The humor, which comes mainly from the imaginative use of onomatopoeia, will facilitate the storyteller's task: ``Kahta-KUM, kahta- KUM, kahta-KUM'' is the sound of Lion scooping mud on top of Turtle, for example. A little long for preschool audiences, this will be a good African story to read aloud to primary-grade children. -- Carolyn Phelan

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

First with Bush-rat and then with Turtle, Rabbit visits the calabash tree, about which the honey guide bird has trilled songs of sweet nectar. But that tree is Lion's, and he confronts the invaders just as they are settling into a meal. Quick-witted, Rabbit eludes Lion, but not before he has made the larger beast look foolish and thus prompt his refrain, ``That little rascal made a monkey out of me!'' Credited as a Swahili tale, the story will remind some of Brer Rabbit's pranks on Brer Fox, or of other trickster tales. Aardema offers up a sound piece of storytelling, admirably reflected in Pinkney's full-color watercolor and pencil illustrations; he composes a lush jungle setting for the folksy antics, and brings drama to the text with his depictions of the various escapes from the hapless Lion. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Verna Aardema was born on June 6, 1911 in New Era Michigan. She received her B.A. degree from Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences in 1934. She was a grade school teacher from 1934 to 1973 and staff correspondent for the Muskegon Chronicle from 1951 to 1972.

Aardema started writing children's stories in the 1950's, and in 1960 she published her first books, Tales from the Story Hat and The Sky God Stories. She specializes in the modernization and adaptation of traditional African folktales. In the 1970s, Aardema joined illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon and produced three picture books. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears received the Caldecott Medal in 1976 and the Brooklyn Art Books for Children Award in 1977. Who's in Rabbit's House? was the 1977 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award winner in 1978. Aardema received the Children's Reading Round Table Award in 1981, and several of her books have been selected as Notable Books by the American Library Association. Oh Kojo! How Could You! won the 1984 Parents' Choice Award for Literature.

Verna Aardema died in 2000.

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