Why the Crab Has No Head: An African Tale

Barbara Knutson, Author, Barbara Knutson, Illustrator Carolrhoda Books $16.95 (24p) ISBN 978-0-87614-322-3
One night Nzambi Mpungu, who made earth and sky, grew too tired to finish her latest creature, the Crab. ""Come back in the morning,'' she promises, ``and I will give you a fine head.'' Crab convinces himself that because his creation takes two days, he must be a finer specimen than any of the other animals. He brags to all the animals, and by next morning, a crowd has gathered. (``Vulture showed up in case there might be food, and the Lizards arrived when the sun was warm on the walls where they liked to bask.'') But Crab is shamed and punished for his pride: he gets no head at all. So today, he shuttles sideways from embarrassment, and can only push his eyes out of his shell. The beautifully written text is matched with striking black-and-white illustrations that suggest stark woodcuts. This African tale is artful, using ancient elements to portray a still relevant message: to lie to oneself will surely lead to dishonesty with others. Ages 4-8. (November)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
Paperback - 24 pages - 978-0-87614-489-3
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