AGASSU by Rick Dupré


Legend of the Leopard King
Age Range: 6 - 9
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 A re-creation of a lineage myth about an obscure West African king of Dahomey--now Benin--c. A.D. 1458. In his introduction, DuprÇ explains only that the story is a ``hwenoho,'' believed to be a record of history, but elements of fantasy have been added: the sea tells Agassu that he is a leopard's son, descended from the gods. The tale follows Agassu's prophecy-fulfilling escape from a slave ship to rescue his people from evil rulers. The powerful illustrations are painted over images from African art and African-American civil rights figures; nine of the faces are identified, with brief biographies, in an afterword. Unfortunately, though the myth would be intriguing if more background had been included, the blend here of historical legend with recent history is an unsatisfying mix--in need of source citation, a pronunciation guide, and the kind of detailed note about Agassu that Wisniewski provided for Sundiata (1992). (Folklore/Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 4th, 1993
ISBN: 0-87614-764-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Carolrhoda
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1993