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Mansa Musa: The Lion of Mali
Contributor(s): Burns, Khephra, Dillon, Leo (Illustrator), Dillon, Diane (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0152003754     ISBN-13: 9780152003753
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    OUR PRICE: $16.20  
Product Type: School And Library
Published: October 2001
* Not available - Not in print at this time *Annotation: Caldecott Medalists Leo and Diane Dillon capture the grandeur of Africa's ancient empires, lands and people in stunning paintings as the richly imagined tale of Mali's king comes to life.
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Historical | Africa
- Juvenile Fiction | Royalty
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 97050559
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 3-4, Age 8-9
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 11.25" W x 0.50" (1.20 lbs)
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
When an evening celebration in his village is disrupted by the cries of slave raiders, young Kankan Musa runs to find his spear, but in a moment he is taken. Suddenly, the world he has known is gone. Is he to be a slave? Or will destiny carry this son of a proud people to a different future?
Caldecott Medalists Leo and Diane Dillon capture the grandeur of Africa's ancient empires, lands, and people in stunning paintings as this richly imagined tale of the boyhood of Mansa Musa, one of Mali's most celebrated kings, carries us across the continent on a triumphant journey of self-discovery.

Contributor Bio(s):
KHEPHRA BURNS has written several acclaimed books, as well as works for public and commercial television, for magazines, and for the stage. He lives in New York City.

Two-time Caldecott Medalists LEO & DIANE DILLON together have illustratred more than forty books. Their many honors include four New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Awards, a Coretta Scott King Award, and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. The Dillons live in New York City.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Spring)
Fourteenth-century Malinke ruler Mansa Musa demonstrated his kingdom's wealth by leading a pilgrimage to Mecca. Burns invents a story of Musa's childhood that is part coming-of-age tale, part cautionary tale, and part fairy tale. The story is beautifully supported by the Dillons' jewel-like illustrations and stylized text ornaments on parchment-colored pages. The exotic setting and common fairy-tale motif will intrigue the right reader. Bib. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2001 #6)
Mansa Musa ruled Mali during the fourteenth century and demonstrated his kingdom's wealth by leading a richly caparisoned caravan of thousands of Malinke on pilgrimage to Mecca-that much is part of the historical record. From this historic material Khephra Burns invents a story of Kankan Musa's childhood that is part coming-of-age tale, part cautionary tale, and part fairy tale. After a raid on his village, Kankan is sold to a Tuareg named Tariq al-Aya, who teaches him how to survive in the Sahara and mentors him in his unknown heritage: "I offered you a camel, but you chose to walk like a slave.... You claim to be a man, but you have not yet mastered the beast within you." Flavored with Tariq's mystical advice and the lion-shaped desert jinns who both trick and guide the travelers, Burns's story moves in a languid magical atmosphere beautifully supported by the Dillons' jewel-like illustrations and stylized text ornaments, which, together with parchment-colored pages, give the impression of an illuminated manuscript. Kankan's goal of spreading the fame of Mali abroad finds a mirror in the Dillons' illustrations, which depict the sophistication of the Malian civilization through its rich textiles and distinctive West African mosque architecture. Although the pace is sometimes too leisurely and the book design of narrow columns of text hinders accessibility, the exotic setting combined with the common fairy-tale motif of searching for a lost heritage will intrigue the right reader. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2001 October #4)
Evocative, finely wrought gouache paintings by the Dillons (Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears) provide excellent accompaniment to this colorful introduction to the history of Mali. Burns (Black Stars in Orbit: NASA's African American Astronauts) embarks in 14th-century West Africa, creating a slightly embellished (as per an author's note) account of the mystery and greatness of the Mali kingdom. Employing a combination of mythical elements and historical fact, the author sets in motion a chain of events during which 14-year-old Kankan is kidnapped by slave traders, wanders the desert for six years with a captor/mentor and, after an important revelation, eventually returns to his Mali homeland. Kankan has discovered that he is a descendent of the legendary king Sundiata and is destined to rule his people as Mansa Musa. Though it contains several fascinating episodes, the very lengthy, highly detailed text may be off-putting for the usual picture book audience. In addition, the plot slows and drifts off course as Kankan wanders the desert, and younger readers may have difficulty keeping the names of people and places straight. As a highlight, the illustrations bring alive historic Africa and its people, dressed in elegant, flowing garments, bright gold jewelry and carefully draped turbans. Flashes of purple, yellow, white and turquoise sparkle against a desert background. The book may also be useful as a first introduction to the Muslim faith. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2001 October)
Gr 3-5-In what amounts to a bildungsroman, Burns recounts the coming-of-age of Mansa Musa, one of Mali's most celebrated kings. After the death of Sundiata, the kingdom of Mali began to decline. Life, however, is still good in the countryside of the once-great nation. One evening, a shrouded stranger in blue arrives in the small village of Kaba Kangaba. Fascinated by the mysterious visitor, young Kankan Musa joins the rest of his village at a gathering to listen to Tariq al-Aya, a member of the Tuareg tribe of the north. The meeting is disrupted by a slave raid and Kankan is carried off. Thus begins his decade of tutelage under Tariq and his transformation from provincial village boy to king of Mali. Well told, with excellent use of pacing and suspense, this yarn would hold attention on its own, but the breathtaking layout of the book greatly enhances the narrative. Creamy buff paper backs the clear double-column text, embellished with inset borders and small illustrations. Half- to full-page detailed, jewel-toned art in the Dillons' signature style makes this a feast for the eyes as well as the mind. Booktalking Mansa Musa with David Wisniewski's Sundiata (Clarion, 2001) will allow children to access the history of ancient Mali in a way that showcases two very different, but equally effective, storytelling and illustrative styles.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.