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Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon Hardcover – Aug 31 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (Aug. 31 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152004963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152004965
  • Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 28.8 x 0.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #570,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Jabuti the tortoise played a song on his flute. Read the first page
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Format: Hardcover
"Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon" is told and illustrated by Gerald McDermott. It opens with the title character playing his flute. Jabuti wants to play his instrument at a festival for the King of Heaven, but another creature's jealousy leads to conflict.
The fun story is brought to life by McDermott's superb artwork. His brightly colored illustrations have a highly stylized, almost surreal quality that I found very engaging. I loved the pictures of Jabuti, as well as those of the birds, trees, flowers, jaguar, and tapir. Dominated by bright pink and shades of green, the pictures really excite the eye. A charming book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Can the Vulture get the better of Jabuti the Tortoise? No. June 2 2004
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have been tracking down trickster tales from around the world and it is always fascinating to see what animals in different cultures are seen as the sources of mischievous pranks. "Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon" is about the central figure in the tribal lore of the Amazon rain forest. He might have short legs and be slow, but he is portrayed in stories as being virtually invincible because he is so clever he is able to outwit his larger foes. Of course, the tales about Jabuti are really about the follies of human beings.
In this story retold and illustrated by Gerald McDermott all of the creatures of the rain forest listen to the songs that Jabuti plays on his flute. But for some of the animals Jabuti's song sounds sour because they recall the prank that Jabuti played on them in the past. My one complaint about this story is that I get the feeling that McDermott is referring to real trickster tales about Jabuti in these passing references and I would really like to hear how Jabuti got the Jaguar to chase his own tail and the rest of these tales.
The point of this particular story is that there was one animal who was jealous of Jabuti, and that was the Vulture. Looking for an opportunity to eat the little tortoise the Vulture gets his opportunity when all the birds of the air were invited to sing for the King of Heaven at a festival. Jabuti wanted to go and play his flute as well and Vulture sees his chance to get the better of the tortoise. Actually, this story is about the trickster, but except for the flashbacks of the first section it is really about the attempt of the Vulture to trick the trickster.
As is often the case with many of these ancient myths and fables, there is a practical side to the story in that it explains why something in nature is the way that it is. As always, McDermott provides brightly colored illustrations (in which the backgrounds are always pink). Other trickster tales by McDermott include "Zomo the Rabbit" A Trickster Tale from West Africa," "Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest," and "Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest," all of which serve as fitting introductions to the universal character of the trickster.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Bright little story Sept. 27 2008
By Emily J. Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What a delightful little story! McDermott retales this folk story with vivid color and all the heart that it is meant to have. It gives a proper little moral to children (and adults, I'm sure) told in a charming manner with gorgeous illustrations. Great to have around.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An accidental discovery Aug. 5 2007
By Mathew A. Shember - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The only reason we read this book is because my girl liked the colors and the turtle on the cover.

At first I didn't think much of the story but it grew on me.

Jabuti is a gifted flute player who has a penchant for playing pranks. He tricked Jaguar into chasing his tale, he tricked lizard into giving him a ride on his back and he tricked Tapir into having a tug-of-war with an orca.

His music is well loved especially by the birds who will sing with him. Well except Vulture who can not sing and is jealous of Jabuti.

One day the birds are summoned by the King of Heaven to sing, rejoice and receive his blessing. Jabuti sees the birds fly and wants to go and play as well. Vulture sees his chance for revenge. He offers to fly Jabuti and when they are high enough Vulture suddenly flips and Jabuti falls and crashes below breaking his shell.

The King of Heaven spots Vulture and asks where is Jabuti. Vulture does not reply. The rest of the birds are sent to find jabuti.

Toucan, Macaw and Hummingbird find him and patch his shell.

Jabuti plays them a thank you song and as a reward; Toucan gets a red and yellow beak, Macaw gets orange feathers, and Hummingbid gets an emerald green belly.

Jabuti goes on playing in the Jungle where the animals likes his music; except of course Vulture who still can not sing.

As I mentioned this story grew on me but my daughter liked it outright. She especially likes the illustrations and will not say no for it to be a bedtime story.
a fun read with my granddaughter June 23 2014
By Wendy L. Sellers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The bright, simple graphics are captivating. The story has a great moral about relationships that can be used to trigger discussion with children. I appreciate reading stories from cultures other than my own.
Great book Jan. 27 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great story for young children, simple but with a lesson. The pictures are big and beautifully rendered and the colors are bright and catch your attention for sure.

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