Synopses & Reviews
"Despite the innocuous title, Achebe's (Things Fall Apart) explanations for three interwoven mysteries why animals are enemies, why dogs live among humans, and why the leopard is so fearsomely armed are grim and sometimes bloody. King Leopard has no claws at first, ruling with kindness, but when the malcontent dog takes over the hall the animals have built together, the animals switch sides without a second thought. 'We love his head, we love his jaws,/ We love his feet and all his claws,' the toad sings in praise of the dog. King Leopard defeats him in the end, but only with violence. First published in the '70s, this is a child's version of Animal Farm, a closely observed account of the way the manipulation of fear can poison civil society. The characterizations are disturbingly true to life, deriving in all likelihood from Achebe's experience of political upheaval in Nigeria. In GrandPrÃ©'s warmly lit acrylic paintings, new to this edition, the animals burst forth from the pages; their anguish would be heartbreaking if not for their comically exaggerated features. Used with skill, the story could form the centerpiece of a substantive discussion. Ages. 7 11. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. An early career in radio ended abruptly in the national upheaval that led to the Biafran war, during which Achebe joined the Biafran Ministry of Information and represented Biafra on various diplomatic missions. In 1971, while also serving as editor of the Heinemann African Writers series, he helped to found the immensely influential literary magazine Okike. Achebe is now the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of African Studies at Brown University. He has lectured widely, receiving many honors from around the world, including the Honorary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and honorary doctorates from more than thirty institutions. He is the recipient of Nigeria's highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction. He was also awarded the 2010 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, which recognizes cultural figures for having "an unprecedented impact in their chosen fields."
Mary GrandPré is perhaps best known for her jacket illustrations for the U.S. editions of the Harry Potter series. The illustrator of Phyllis Root's LUCIA AND THE LIGHT and numerous other picture books, she also worked on scenery development for the animated film ANTZ and has done illustrations for top editorial and advertising clients. She lives in Sarasota, Florida.