cover image Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion

Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion

Verna Aardema. Dial Books, $11.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0297-4

First with Bush-rat and then with Turtle, Rabbit visits the calabash tree, about which the honey guide bird has trilled songs of sweet nectar. But that tree is Lion's, and he confronts the invaders just as they are settling into a meal. Quick-witted, Rabbit eludes Lion, but not before he has made the larger beast look foolish and thus prompt his refrain, ``That little rascal made a monkey out of me!'' Credited as a Swahili tale, the story will remind some of Brer Rabbit's pranks on Brer Fox, or of other trickster tales. Aardema offers up a sound piece of storytelling, admirably reflected in Pinkney's full-color watercolor and pencil illustrations; he composes a lush jungle setting for the folksy antics, and brings drama to the text with his depictions of the various escapes from the hapless Lion. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)