Saba: Under the Hyena's Foot (Girls of Many Lands Series)

Saba: Under the Hyena's Foot (Girls of Many Lands Series)

by Jane Kurtz, Jean-Paul Tibbles
     
 
When twelve-year-old Saba and her older brother are kidnapped and taken from their rural home to the royal palace at Gondar, Saba finally learns about her long-lost parents -- and her own royal past. With Ethiopia's rulers in the midst of a fierce struggle for control of the throne, what can the King of Kings -- Emperor Yohannes III -- possibly want with her?

Overview

When twelve-year-old Saba and her older brother are kidnapped and taken from their rural home to the royal palace at Gondar, Saba finally learns about her long-lost parents -- and her own royal past. With Ethiopia's rulers in the midst of a fierce struggle for control of the throne, what can the King of Kings -- Emperor Yohannes III -- possibly want with her?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The creator of the popular American Girl series of dolls and books is now going abroad, with stories of pre-teen girls in different countries and historical periods. Saba is a Christian girl in Ethiopia in 1846; the country is wracked by much of the same tribal infighting that afflicts Ethiopia today. Jane Kurtz mixes Ethiopian history with the fictional story of Saba, who is kidnapped with her beloved brother and taken to live in a royal castle. Kurtz grew up in Ethiopia and her appreciation for its cultures and traditions is evident on every page. The story is full of wise sayings. "When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion" becomes especially significant to the story line. The book is not just another series title pumped out in a hurry, but a carefully written, often exciting narrative filled with warmth, drama, and suspense. Revealing moments are perfectly described, as when Saba is learning the alphabet and history of Ethiopia: "All these names and dates. What would make them stick to a person?" As Saba moves from her poor home in the woods to the luxury of the castle, she appreciates her fine cotton clothing but finds the bed too soft and realizes what she really must cling to: "Wat (stew) and injera (bread) in my hand. My brother by my side." Saba's story teaches lessons of character without being pedantic. There is a glossary and a pronunciation guide as well as a short but excellent section with numerous color photos on "Then and Now—A Girl's Life in Ethiopia." Other books in the series feature stories of girls in 16th century England, 18th century France, Turkey, China, Yup'ik Alaska, right up to 20th century Ireland and India. The series is "Girls of Many Lands." 2003,Pleasant Company Publications,
— Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Kurtz admirably offers readers the story of a young girl first and the historical details and political intrigue of Ethiopia in 1846 second. Saba is a simple country girl, living with her brother and overly protective grandmother. Suspense builds as the children disobediently venture out of their home. Kidnapped and taken to a faraway palace, Saba is confused, but by paying close attention to details, she is able to make sense of events. Her lack of understanding of the ways of the court gradually turns into an awareness of a severe, albeit camouflaged, threat to herself and her brother. Politics is at the heart of the story and complicated family relationships at the heart of the dilemma. Kurtz keeps the pages turning as she reveals Saba and her brother's place in the emperor's line. A descendant of the biblical Queen of Sheba, clever and resourceful Saba is determined to save not just herself, but her brother as well. It's gratifying that a title this well written and culturally sensitive is now available since there are so few good novels about Africa, and especially Ethiopia, that provide a sense of the rich history in that part of the world.-Carol A. Edwards, Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781584857471
Publisher:
American Girl Publishing
Publication date:
09/15/2003
Series:
Girls of Many Lands Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.86(d)
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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