Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon Hardcover – Aug 31 2001
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Another installment in Gerald McDermott's wise and whimsical trickster series, Jabutí the Tortoise tells the tale of the Amazon jungle's shiny-shelled mischief-maker. Although Jabutí doesn't come across as the most clever trickster around in this particular retelling (he's duped by that crabby old Vulture and ends up getting bailed out by the King of Heaven), the colorful pipe-player and his songs are clearly well loved. Well, by everybody but his victims, that is: "Jaguar could remember when Jabutí tricked him into chasing his own tail," and "Tapir could remember when Jabutí tricked him into a tug-of-war with Whale." But we do get to learn how Tortoise's shell became cracked, and why Toucan, Macaw, and Hummingbird boast such brilliant colors.
Not the most notable entry in this region-by-region series, but beautiful and boldly colored nonetheless. Kids who aren't immediately hooked by Jabutí's story will likely still get drawn in by McDermott's vibrant colors and straightforward compositions of simply shaped jungle creatures set against a bright pink dawn. (Ages 4 to 8) Paul Hughes
From Publishers Weekly
With its shocking-pink jacket and swirls of brilliant designs, McDermott's retelling of this rain forest tale is visually arresting but narratively a bit colorless. The reputed trickster Jabut¡ gets his comeuppance when a jealous Vulture offers to fly the tortoise and his flute to the King of Heaven's festival of song, then wickedly drops his passenger down from the skies. The King of Heaven chastises the vulture, and the birds who put Jabut¡'s smooth shell back together again gain new feathers as their reward. Though Jabut¡'s shell is "cracked and patched," his "song is sweet." Oddly, Jabut¡ doesn't possess a trickster's lively intelligence or cleverness, and the story's plot is resolved by the God of Heaven's intervention rather than by the protagonist's cunning. The story begins with the animals that Jabut¡ has tricked, but they all disappear immediately in favor of a pourquoi tale about how the tortoise got the cracks on his shell. McDermott's illustrations, on the other hand, vibrate with electric colors and patterns. Jabuti's huge eyes and geometric smile, and the interior, brightly colored birds are startling when silhouetted against the pink sky. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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