When Lion Could Fly: and Other Tales from Africa

Overview

When Lion Could Fly is just one of over 30 stories from folklore and mythology about African animals and other creatures native to the grasslands and rainforests. Handed down by word of mouth through generations of tribal life in a dozen sub-Saharan African tribes, these tales reflect the extraordinarily close relationship that existed between man and animals who lived in very close proximity for centuries. Nick Greaves, who lives in Zimbabwe, has studied the traditional animal stories from different tribes from ...

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Overview

When Lion Could Fly is just one of over 30 stories from folklore and mythology about African animals and other creatures native to the grasslands and rainforests. Handed down by word of mouth through generations of tribal life in a dozen sub-Saharan African tribes, these tales reflect the extraordinarily close relationship that existed between man and animals who lived in very close proximity for centuries. Nick Greaves, who lives in Zimbabwe, has studied the traditional animal stories from different tribes from many parts of the continent. In this book, a follow-up to his highly successful When Hippo Was Hairy, he records the best: there are tales about Lion, Jackal, Tortoise, Mongoose, Monkey, Porcupine, Aardvark and even Dung Beetle. Some are amusing, some sad, all compelling, and in recording them, he has preserved them forever as well providing a fascinating picture of a land and its people. As vivid as the stories themselves are Rod Clement's brilliant and detailed paintings of each animal in its natural habitat. Each story is illustrated by his sketches and after the story itself there is factual information about the animal's habits, lifespan and size, with distribution maps showing where they live. The book is aimed at a wide age group from about six up to early teenage. It will entertain, inform and above all make children aware of cultures and landscape so different from their own. Africa is facing its gravest threat yet - overpopulation. Deforestation and other ecological disasters caused by 'development programmes' further exacerbate the situation. This book will help show the younger generation the beauty and diversity of what we have inherited and the importance of preserving it.

This unusual volume combines animal tales from African folklore with facts about the animals native either to Africa's grasslands or its rainforests. Supplementing each tale is a table of facts about the story's leading animal. A map of Africa shows where the animals live and migrate.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-9-This sequel to When Hippo Was Hairy (Barron's, 1988) features animal tales from various parts of Africa, along with facts about the creatures themselves. Among the more exotic species included are servals, caracols, mongooses, aardvarks, pangolins, kudus, vervet monkeys, and dung beetles. The detailed illustrations and facts on habits, habitat, diet, lifespan, reproduction, and appearance are particularly useful. The book identifies the ethnic group from which each story comes, and provides a complete bibliography of sources. However, although readers see where the animals live, they do not see the people who tell the tales. Greaves uses outdated and pejorative terminology to refer to several groups (which he calls tribes), most notably the Efe and the Khoi, whom he refers to as Pygmies and Hottentots. While the realistic pictures will appeal to youngsters, the writing is dry. The brief adaptations lack the tension, drama, and style of the originals. A good source for information on animals, this volume unfortunately shortchanges the people of the continent. Tony Fairman's Bury My Bones, but Keep My Words (Holt, 1993) offers much more in terms of both cultural context and the spirit of the tales.-Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Siena College Library, Loudonville, NY
Sheilamae O'Hara
Books of African folk tales abound, but Greaves takes the unusual approach of combining folk tales with factual information about various animal species. Most of the stories deal with the ways that animals have acquired a distinguishing characteristic, and Greaves arranges his material to spotlight one animal, sometimes in a single story, sometimes in several. Each section is accompanied by a full- or double-page color illustration of excellent verisimilitude and beauty and usually one or more smaller sketches. And each concludes with statistical information about the animal, plus notes on identification, habitat, habits, diet, and breeding. Since many of the animals--such as the serval, caracal, and pangolin--are unfamiliar to Americans, the lifelike water colors and species data are particularly welcome. The stories are amusing, the artwork wonderful, and the factual information succinct and intelligible. Altogether, this book is a bonanza for folktale enthusiasts and wild animal lovers alike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780718828875
  • Publisher: Lutterworth Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/1/1993
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 6 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.08 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Greaves was born and educated in England, where he studied geology and environmental sciences before leaving to work in souther Africa. His work as a geologist took him to many of the remote and unspoiled regions of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. There he developed a lasting fascination for the wildlife and its varied, often fragile habitat. He now lives in Zimbabwe.

Rod Clement is a well-known author, illustrator and cartoonist. He has written and illustrated "Grandpa's Teeth" and "Just Another Ordinary Day" and illustrated "Edward the Emu" and "Edwina the Emu, " both written by Sheena Knowles. He is also a caricaturist for several Australian newspapers. Mr. Clement lives in Sydney, Australia.

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