An adaptation of an African folk tale with handsome illustrations. The publisher's jacket copy proposes this as a suitable story for acting out and reading confirms this. The neatly designed animals suggest easy-to-imitate costumes and the text provides a dignified dialogue spiced with howls and sound effects. A selfish leopard guards his prize coconut tree against marauders by threatening to dine on any who dare go near it. A dog and a turtle decide to try. They swear each other to absolute silence, but the dog, hit on the head by a coconut, forgets his promise in the pain and goes howling off without his slower friend, thus alerting the leopard. Stricken with guilt, the dog goes to the wise old snake who shows him how to make a strange noise, assuring him that the fiercest animals will fear the unknown. Of course, the ruse is a success -- and so is the book. An excellent layout and large, clear print.