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How the Leopard Got His Claws
Achebe, Chinua & Iroaganachi, John; GrandPré, Mary (illus.) How the Leopard Got His Claws. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2011. $16.99, ISBN 9780763648053 / 0763648051.

Note: Recounts how the leopard got his claws and teeth and why he rules the forest with terror.


First published in 1976, the 2011 edition has new illustrations by American artist Mary GrandPré best known for her Harry Potter illustrations. The classic text is as compelling as ever but neither the text nor the new pictures give a hint of where in Africa the story takes place. In Ezenwa-Ohaeto 's Chinua Achebe, A Biography, he suggests the symbolic setting is Nigeria during the civil war with Biafra. For CABA committee member Barbara Anderson the story is not bound by geography or nationality. "This is not a simple story, nor is it only for African children; there are lessons here for all of us in cherishing participatory governance and taking responsibility for our societies."

Rating: R Grade: P / E Type: Book

Reviewed by: CABA Committee

Subject: Africa / Folktales / Black author