• Alternative view 1 of Pinduli
  • Alternative view 2 of Pinduli


5.0 3
by Janell Cannon

Pinduli's mama has always told her that she's the most beautiful hyena ever. But Dog, Lion, and Zebra don't think so. Why else would they make her feel so rotten about her big ears, her fuzzy mane, and her wiggly stripes? Poor Pinduli just wants to disappear--and she tries everything she can think of to make that happen. Yet nothing goes her way. Nothing,


Pinduli's mama has always told her that she's the most beautiful hyena ever. But Dog, Lion, and Zebra don't think so. Why else would they make her feel so rotten about her big ears, her fuzzy mane, and her wiggly stripes? Poor Pinduli just wants to disappear--and she tries everything she can think of to make that happen. Yet nothing goes her way. Nothing, that is, until a case of mistaken identity lets her show the creatures of the African savanna how a few tiny words--bad or good--can create something enormous.

Janell Cannon, the creator of the bestselling Stellaluna, introduces yet another endearing character in this triumphant story about self-image, self-acceptance, and treating others with respect.

Includes notes about hyenas and other animals of the African savanna.

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Janell Cannon, author of animal-themed bestsellers like Stellaluna and Verdi, whisks readers to the African savanna, where a little hyena is grappling with some unkind comments about her looks. Although Mama tells Pinduli that she's the most beautiful hyena ever, the critter hears from other animals that she's not all that special: Dog makes fun of her ears, Lion tells her that "prickly fringe hardly becomes you," and Zebra has something to say about her stripes. But when a dejected Pinduli decides to cover her fur with pale savanna dust, Dog, Lion, and Zebra think she's an evil spirit who's come for revenge. With some quick thinking, Pinduli convinces the three to make up for their harsh words, and the three -- along with readers -- come away with a smart lesson about self-awareness and making fun of others. With her signature lush illustrations that capture the majestic, dramatic beauty of Africa, Cannon adds another winner to her library of bestsellers. Children who've been picked on for being different will understand Pinduli's plight, while parents should especially appreciate the "Meet the Hyena Family" and animal facts in back. A stunning picture book with an unusual main character that'll surely keep spirits perked up. Matt Warner
Publishers Weekly
Cannon (Stellaluna) applies her familiar formula to the animals of the African savanna in this rambling tale of a striped hyena who learns about how cruel insults can be. Once again, Cannon combines an anthropomorphic story with factual endnotes about the wildlife, and the engaging artwork succeeds in making an unappealing creature sympathetic. The illustrations mix Audubon verisimilitude with Disney-like sentimentality. When Dog, Lion and Zebra insult young Pinduli, her ears droop as if she were a sad-eyed, lovable cartoon rabbit; and when the animals think dust-covered Pinduli is a ghost, their suddenly yellow eyes bulge like startled characters in a Halloween movie. The text often grows ponderous ("Please spare us your wrath!," says Lion to the ghost, "I, too, have spread discord, by insulting a young hyena's mane"), and the plot mushrooms in complexity as readers learn that each animal has insulted Pinduli because they were insulted themselves. (With a nod to Stellaluna, Fennac Fox explains, "I guess I was having a bad day. Serval Cat said I looked like a little fuzzy bat without wings.") By the time the insults multiply and apologies go around, the message has been underscored a dozen times. Nonetheless, this disappointingly didactic effort may well appeal to Cannon fans. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Out on the East African savanna Pinduli, a young hyena, finds her self-image under siege. Her mother has always assured her that she is "the most beautiful hyena ever." But as she encounters dogs, lion, and zebras and they make critical comments about her ears, mane, and stripes, she feels more and more humiliated. The fable takes an unusual turn, however, when Panduli, covered in gray dust, appears to be a ghost to the other animals. Frightened, they seek to appease her. As the clever hyena makes everything turn out well, the moral of the story becomes clear. No one likes to be teased about appearance, but taking it out on someone else is really a poor choice. We are introduced to the spunky heroine on the jacket with the other animal characters in the background. The front end-papers' vignette drawings demonstrate the initial nastiness between animal pairs while the back end-papers show them being nice to each other, a summary of Pinduli's magic. Stunning full-page naturalistic acrylic paintings with colored pencils focus on key episodes with an emphasis on the emotions of the animals. On the bottoms of the text pages we are offered a parallel story told in black-line vignettes. The engaging tale includes great natural history, as in Stellaluna and the author's similar other works. 2004, Harcourt, Ages 5 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-After sleeping through the hot East African afternoon, it is time for Mama Hyena and her child to go hunting. Pinduli promises to stay close by, but then trots off. She comes across a pack of wild dogs, a lion, and a zebra, and all tease her about her looks. She rolls in the dirt until her striped coat is a pallid gray and her ears are pinned back. The animals think that she is a "ghost" that has come for them. All of the creatures then confess that they teased the young hyena because another animal had made fun of them. The "ghost" understands and advises them to "find your tormentors and make peace-. And always leave a bit of every meal as an offering." By story's end, the animals have reconciled, and with all the food offerings left, Pinduli and her mother never have to scrounge around looking for meals. The animals' expressions and antics are hilarious and endearing; Cannon has pulled off quite a feat in creating a cuddly hyena protagonist. This touching book about personal growth and self-acceptance gently demonstrates how the actions of one can have far-reaching effects on many others. An appealing and worthwhile purchase.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After being ridiculed for her big ears, her fuzzy fur, and her uneven stripes, a little hyena tries to change herself into something else, but learns an amazing secret about the power of words to hurt and to heal. When she covers herself in pale thick dust, the other animals on the savanna believe that Pinduli's a spirit sent to extract penance for their unkindness. Turns out that each of the animals was ridiculed for their own individuality, making them in turn tease another animal. Finding freedom in this revelation, Pinduli (a Swahili word for catalyst) extracts promises of apologies and throws in a request for food, knowing that it will ease her mother's burden. Graphic paintings illustrate the stark savanna and its variety of inhabitants. Appendices introduce hyenas and the reason that some animals lack fur or feathers. Preachy, but Cannon fans will lap it up. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.38(d)
680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

JANELL CANNON is the award-winning author and illustrator of picture books about unappreciated and fascinating creatures, including Crickwing, Verdi, and the beloved bestseller Stellaluna. She lives in Southern California.

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
ellyhell More than 1 year ago
Great book, The kids love them (they've been collecting them for years and have them all. Great life lessons to be found and discussed. Have also given them as gifts and were well received.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a new teacher, and just read this book to my class of 3rd graders, to set up a background knowledge of where a story in our textbook takes place. The illustrations in 'Pinduli' are fantasic. My kids were totally hooked on the book and actually sat still. There's one illustration where Pinduli looks so sad, you just want to pull her out of the book and give her a hug. I love the illustrations more and more every day. This book is a great tool to help teach children that everyone is different and what happens when people (or animals in the book's case) get teased.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Making a hyena into a kind animal is much like putting perfume on a pig but the author does this well here for children. Just like her 'Stellaluna,' she writes a book that will be loved by all kids.