Friday, May 14, 2010

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

What happens when you mix two beautiful daughters, one handsome prince, and a marriage proposal? Well, if one is selfish, self-centered, and spoiled, and the other is kind, loving, and sweet, then you get the heartwarming fairytale by John Steptoe, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. He credits an African folktale with inspiring this original version of a Cinderella-esque story. Steptoe's illustrations compliment the tale at every turn, defining setting, expanding characterization, and adding depth to the text; they are indeed worthy of the Caldecott Honor Book Medal which graces the cover. Pages of stunning paintings capture the very essence of the story's Zimbabwean ancestors and the landscape they inhabited.

In this typical fast-paced fairytale where evil is punished and good is rewarded, readers meet Manyara and Nyasha, two sisters of unsurpassed beauty, who are summoned to the city in order to appear before the unmarried prince. Little girls everywhere will identify with the kind and patient Nyasha and delight at the fate that the "evil" sister, Manyara, eventually meets.

Children of all ages will thoroughly enjoy a read-aloud of this fairytale. The vivid use of language and exquisite illustrations, such as the scene in which Nyasha meets the king, are sure to entertain even the most discriminating audience, from the youngest listener to the transitional reader. Complete with a surprise ending, a touch of magic, and a moral message, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is a wonderful story and makes and excellent comparison to more traditional versions of Cinderella.

This is my favorite childrens book, and is a must read for all children.



1 comment:

  1. I had this book when I was younger; the illustrations are beautiful!


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