Synopses & Reviews
The story of Sundiata, son of the king of Mali in the time of the great trading empires of Africa some eight hundred years ago, is a powerful tale of courage and determination. As a boy, Sundiata was unable to speak or walk. He overcame these obstacles, but was driven into exile by a rival queen. When Mali was overrun by intruders, 18-year-old Sundiata returned to defeat them and reclaim the throne. Full color.
"A splendid resource; a fascinating meld of biography and legend."
"A splendid resource; a fascinating meld of biography and legend." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
"An appealing biography of Sundiata, credited as the founder of the Mali empire. . . . Wisniewski's characteristic artwork add to the drama of the tale and are consistent with the folkloric tone. The characters have personality and vitality, and the setting has a texture and richness that heightens climactic moments of the story. . . . All in all, another fine effort from a talented author/illustrator." School Library Journal, Starred
"Passed down through oral tradition, this historical account has the drama and depth of a folktale. The illustrations-elaborate collages inspired by the artifacts and culture of the Malinke-create a series of dramatic images. The intricacy of the paper-cuts and the richness of the colors and patterns give the artwork visula as well as narrative strength. In an appended note, Wisniewski discusses the history and art of West Africa as well as his research and technique for creating the illustrations. A striking interpretation." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
In the thirteenth century, Sundiata overcame physical handicaps, social disgrace, and strong opposition to rule the West African trading empire of Mali.
About the Author
David Wisniewski (wiz-NESS-key) was born in Middlesex, England, in 1953. After training at Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, he spent three years as a clown, designing and constructing his own props, costumes, and gags. He was subsequently hired by his future wife, Donna, as a performer with a traveling puppet theatre. Married six months later, the Wisniewskis started their own troupe, Clarion Shadow Theatre, specializing in shadow puppetry. In the course of creating the plays, puppets, and projected scenery, Mr. Wisniewski evolved the storytelling techniques and art skills that eventually led to his picture books with their unique cut-paper illustrations. His retelling of GOLEM was awarded the 1997 Caldecott Medal. David Wisniewski died in 2002 in the Maryland home he shared with his wife and two children.