Sungura – ancestor to Br’er Rabbit – is a trickster hare, a common figure in African folklore. Here, he frightens bad-tempered, dimwitted Leopard into vacating the but they’ve uneasily shared by tricking his fierce neighbor into believing that hares eat leopard meat. Knutson (How the Guinea Fowl Got Her Spots, 1990) brings to the text a storyteller’s unhurried, colloquial phrasing, while her tawny illustrations (ink and watercolor on scratchboard) mirror its comic reversals with the creatures’ changing expressions. Geometric motifs and tiny vignettes of animals are worked into small friezes decorating the tops and bottoms of pages; block-printed endpapers complete the design of an exceptionally handsome volume. A very satisfying read- or tell-aloud.
Sungura and Leopard: A Swahili Trickster Tale