Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe
This Cinderella story is highly acclaimed and wonderful for discussions about morals and character. Mufaro, an African villager, has two beautiful daughters. One, Manyara, has a bad temper and is selfish. The other, Nyasha, is always kind and considerate to both people and animals. When the Great King invites all worthy maidens to appear so that he might chose a wife, Mufaro sends both his daughters. Though there is no fairy godmother and no slipper, the Great King does have magic and gets to know the girls' personalities before they appear before him. Thus, Nyasha is chosen to be queen, while her mean sister becomes a maid in the queen's household.
The traditional qualities, values and characterizations of Africa are displayed along with the vibrant colors and textures of the culture. What makes this story special, besides the illustrations, is the simple yet wonderfully expressive text and the emotions which peek out from the words of Nyasha and the Great King.
A Review from School Library Journal states:
"A magnificently illustrated book, filled with rich textures and vibrant color, and a story that will satisfy young romantics as well as those with a strong sense of justice."
Book Awards & Honors:
- Caldecott Honor Book
- Coretta Scott King Award
- Boston Globe/Horn Book Award