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THE MEAN HYENA by Judy Sierra


A Folktale from Malawi

adapted by Judy Sierra & illustrated by Michael Bryant

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-67510-8
Publisher: Dutton

How the hyena got his laugh, how the zebra got his stripes, and how the leopard got his spots are revealed in this African folktale. After Fisi, a hyena, tricks Kamba, a tortoise, and leaves him stuck in the crook of a tree, the tortoise plots a slow, steady revenge. He chews on bark to make a paint brush and calls over animals to decorate their coats. Kamba gives the zebra stripes and the leopard spots, lavish enough to make Fisi jealous. When the hyena comes to have his coat painted, the tortoise gives him a coat of sticky gum, making the hyena the laughing stock of the jungle. The story starts and endsabruptly and unnecessarilywithin the frame of a storyteller speaking to a class, and although Bryant's animals are vastly appealing, his palette can appear muddy. The book is nevertheless a useful addition to folklore collections. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)