Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale

mufaro 2

Author/Illustrator: John Steptoe

Publisher and Year: Puffin Books, 1987

Number of Pages: 29

Genre: Folktalemufaro

Analysis: In “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale,” Mufaro has two beautiful daughters: Nyasha, who is kind and considerate, and Manyara, who is rude and selfish. Manyara learns a valuable lesson when she uses sneaky tactics to become the queen. This book would work well as a mirror for the intended audience. Firstly, young, African American girls should know that they are beautiful. Secondly, it teaches children that kindness and generosity will prevail over spitefulness and rudeness. There is a King who is searching for a wife to make the queen. Together, these two have all of the power over the people. This story is an African tale, so the African culture is represented and it is evident in the clothing and accessories that the people wear. It is also evident in the marrying off of daughters to the King. From my understanding, the outfits, traditions, and names align well with the African culture.

In this book, the text (mostly dialog) tells the story and explains the images. The text is off to the side of pictures, although the text does play a major part in the understanding of the book.

Nyasha is often in a darker light when she is being made fun of by her sister. When Nyasha is not being insulted by her sister, she looks majestic and a light shines on her, while Manyara always has her hands on her hips and a disapproving look on her face. Nyasha appears much bigger than Manyara when she is crowned queen.

Manyara teaches us to always be kind to others. Do to others as you would have them do to you.