Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

4.7 13
by John Steptoe, John L. Steptoe

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With beautiful illustrations, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters Big Book, a Caldecott Honor picture book, is perfect for introducing children to the Cinderella fairytale as well as the history, culture, and geography of the African nation of Zimbabwe. This oversize edition (14 3/4 by 17 5/8 inches) makes it easy to share the book in a library or

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With beautiful illustrations, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters Big Book, a Caldecott Honor picture book, is perfect for introducing children to the Cinderella fairytale as well as the history, culture, and geography of the African nation of Zimbabwe. This oversize edition (14 3/4 by 17 5/8 inches) makes it easy to share the book in a library or classroom.

Mufaro has two beautiful daughters. Nyasha is kind and considerate, but Manyara is selfish and spoiled. When the king decides to choose a bride from among "The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land," both Mufaro's girls travel to the capital city. But only one can be chosen to marry the king.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
This African tale from Zimbabwe evokes the Cinderella story in its portrayal of Mufaro's daughters, Manyara and Nyasha, who are summoned before a king looking for a suitable wife. The scheming, selfish Manyara plots to appear first at the palace, while her considerate, loving sister takes time on the journey to care for hungry and elderly people. Manyara's haste does not work to her benefit and eventually causes her undoing. The colorful and richly textured illustrations are breath-taking and help make this picture book a favorite among children and adults.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3 An African villager named Mufaro had two daughters whom everyone agreed were beautiful. However, their dispositions were not alike: Manyara had a bad temper and was selfish (although not in front of Mufaro); Nyasha was always kind and considerate both to people and to animals. When Mufaro receives word that the Great King is inviting all of the most worthy and beautiful women to appear before him so that he might choose a wife, Mufaro decides that both of his daughters should go. Manyara, believing herself more worthy and beautiful than her sister, sets out alone so that she can be presented to the king before her sister. What happens to each girl along the way depends on her response to the strange people whom she encounters. This folktale shows the traditional qualities, characterizations, and predictability. It is distinguished, however, by its colorful ink and watercolor illustrations of the costumes, artifacts, flora, and fauna of the Zimbabwe region. The expressive drawings of people and events enhance the story and serve to strengthen readers' familiarity with traditional African culture. A magnificently illustrated book, filled with rich textures and vibrant color, and a story that will satisfy young romantics as well as those with a strong sense of justice. Helen E. Williams, University of Maryland, College Park

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Reading Rainbow Series
Edition description:
1st Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.25(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.37(d)
AD720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Michellesays More than 1 year ago
This Caldecott Honor book, inspired by a story collected from the people of Zimbabwe, is somewhat similar to the classic Cinderella fairy tale in that it contains sisters, one jealous of the other, and one royal invitation to all the girls in the kingdom. Yet this story offers much more because it contains important life lessons: "Pride goes before a fall" and "Treat others the way you would want to be treated" (The Golden Rule). The illustrations are absolutely breathtaking. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Misticrystal More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite childhood book. I always tend to order this to donate to the B&N book drive whenever they coordinate it with the local firehouse, school, or library event. The illustrations are simply gorgeous and the plot memorable. It is an excellent book with a wonderful lesson in kindness for young elementary children to read. I love this book and I hope you will too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Easily under the category of Cinderella story. Beautiful book that introduces kindness and integrity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story truly emphasizes the importance of being kind. I liked how the prince was different characters in the book to test the sisters personality/reactions. Strangly enough, upon reading the story you can see their beauty within their actions (the best of the story overall). This book makes a great gift for the family not only because of the moral (in which these days is hard to come by), but also because of the gorgeous artwork.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mother gave me this book when i was a little girl and i loved it. By the way my name is Nyasha. It made me feel so special to know the origins of my name.Great story too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story is about two young laidies, daughters of a man called Mufaro that lived in a small vilage. One of them was named Maryara and she was greedy and selfish. The other one was kind and nobleand her name was Nyasha.One day the king wanted to marry one of them. So of they went on their journey to the city. When they arived the king choose the one who had been kind with all. Other people should read this book because it teaches you that you should always help the needy and be noble with all. But it doesn't just tell you there in the text'you should always be noble, ' instead this book has magical creatures that tell be the story what the deep mesage is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mufaro¿s Beautiful Daughter¿s is an African Tale about two beautiful sisters who are very different. One is sweet, generous, and loving to everyone and the other is very selfish. Both sisters are invited to appear before the king and he will choose one of them to become queen. Manyara is very jealous of Nyasha because everyone talks about how kind you are, and they praise everything you do¿I am certain that father loves you best.¿ Manyara thinks that one day she will become queen and Nyasha ¿will be a servant in [her] household. When Manyara comes upon a boy on her journey who says ¿please¿I am hungry,¿ she replies, ¿I have brought only enough for myself.¿ Then she says ¿out of my way boy.¿ When Nyasha begins the same journey to the king, she comes upon the same little boy. Before he says anything, she ¿handed him a yam she had brought for her lunch.¿ As they make their journey to see the king only one girl will be chosen to be queen. Read this exciting story to find out which sister will become the queen and which one will become the servant? Mufaro¿s Beautiful Daughters was inspired by a folktale by G.M. Theal. The amazing illustrations were inspired by the ruins of an ancient city found in Zimbabwe, and the flora and fauna of that region. In Shona language: Mufaro mean ¿happy man¿ Nyasha means ¿mercy¿ Manyara means ¿ashamed¿ Nyoka means ¿snake¿.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is a wonderful children's book with a very special message. The book tells the story of two beautiful daughters, one is very kind hearted and the other is spiteful and jealous. The girls are informed that the king of their land is looking for a wife and one of them will be chosen to be his queen. The spiteful daughter does everything in her power to make sure to become queen. The other daughter, although excited, is not particularly eager to leave her home. As both girls journey to meet the king they each encounter situations along the way. In the end, it is the way they chose to address these situations that will determine who becomes queen. This story has a very important moral. First, always treat people kindly and with respect. Next, even though people may be beautiful on the outside, true beauty lies within.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is yet another beautiful book by John Steptoe. In this book there are two beautiful daughters, one very mean and unappreciative of everything, while the other is extremely caring and loving. One day their father hears about the King requesting all beautiful and available young ladies in the kingdom to come so that he may choose a wife. The mean sister, hoping to get a head start on the other girls, left to go to the king early. Along the way she encountered several things, a young boy on the side of the road, an old woman, and some very strange trees all of which she had no time for and couldn¿t be bothered by in her rush to see the king. The next morning when the other sister began traveling to see the king, she encountered all of the same things, however, she took the time to help each of them out. Read this beautiful story to find out how it concludes, will the king reward selfishness or rather a kind, caring, selfless woman? The author of this book, John Steptoe, was born in Brooklyn, New York. He began writing his first picture book when he was only 16 years of age. He has won several awards, including two Caldecott Honor Awards and two Coretta Scott King Awards. As well, for his many talents the American Library Association now gives the John Steptoe Award for New Talent to a black author and black illustrator each year.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this book on Reading Rainbow when I was a kid and it still sticks with me. It needs to be made into a movie...or that would ruin its charm. It has a beautiful moral and GORGEOUS illustrations. Once I have kids, this will be on the shelf!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this beautiful book to my children when they were babies and thru elementary school when they read it to me. It is an absolute delight. Beautifully written and illustrated. I have bought 20 plus copies; I bought one for my four children, and gave them as gifts to relatives, friends, and my youngest son's Third Grade Teacher! This is one book that should be made into a movie for all children and adults to see.