Saturday, March 28, 2015

[BOOK REVIEW] Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion by Verna Aardema

Title:  Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion

Author:  Verna Aardema

Artist: Jerry Pinkney

Genre:  Africa / Animals / Folktale / Trickery

Year Published: 1989

Year Read:  2015

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+  (Nothing Objectionable)

Buy or Add onAmazon  //  Goodreads

I have read many African folktales and I had enjoyed a good majority of them!  So, imagine my surprise when I picked up a new children’s book called “Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion,” which is a Swahili tale retold by Verna Aardema along with illustrations by Jerry Pinkney and it is definitely one story that every child should read!

 The story starts out with the honey guide telling Rabbit about how it found some tasty honey in a calabash tree and Rabbit decides to invite her friends Bush-rat and Turtle to dine on the honey.  Unfortunately, the calabash tree belongs to Lion and he is not happy about having a couple of pests eating honey out of his tree!  So, in order to escape from being eaten by Lion and getting the honey at the same time, Rabbit and her friends end up tricking Lion into various situations that allow them to get the honey, making a monkey out of Lion!

Will Lion finally get Rabbit?

Read this book to find out!

 I have read many books written by Verna Aardema and I always enjoyed the way that Verna Aardema is able to retell many ancient folktales and make them so mesmerizing to read!  Well, this book was no different and I really loved the way that Verna Aardema was able to combine both humor and drama into this story as you laugh whenever Rabbit tricks Lion and get scared when you think that Lion will eat Rabbit.  I loved the fact that this story is reminiscent of Uncle Remus’ “Brer Rabbit” tales as both stories involves the main protagonist being a rabbit and tricking their enemies to get out of dangerous situations. Jerry Pinkney’s artwork is as usual gorgeous to look at as the characters look truly realistic and I always loved seeing the scenes where Lion is chasing Rabbit right after she tricks him in order to escape as they look truly vibrant.

Overall, “Rabbit Makes a Monkey of Lion” is another fantastic African folktale from the great mind of Verna Aardema and anyone who loves reading about African folktales should definitely check this book out!  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


  1. RABBIT MAKES A MONKEY OF LION is marvelous! Rabbit is always a trickster in African folktales, and many others, and the story moves children through an imaginative tale that gets the best of lion. Always fun to see power overcome by cleverness!

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