The Perfect Orange: A Tale from Ethiopia

Ages 4-8

The author and illustrator of Nekane, the Lami?a & the Bear present the second volume in the Toucan Tales series of international folktales. Discovering a perfect orange in her Ethiopian mountain village, Tshai travels to the city to tender her prize to the great Nigus. When the girl passes the house of the Lord Hyena, the jeering animal scorns her silly gift. But the ruler himself is so moved that he tries to reward Tshai with riches. When she refuses, Nigus orders his Royal Chamberlain to follow her and give her a donkey whose saddle bags are filled with gold and jewels. The greedy hyena hastens to offer Nigus his bountiful lands and cattle. In return, the wise Nigus bestows on the crafty hyena “our most prized possession”: one perfect orange. Li’s watercolors contrast the cocoa-brown hues of the countryside and buildings with the stark white robes and brilliantly colored accessories of traditional Ethiopian dress; it’s odd, however, that his Ethiopian characters have such pink skin. Araujo, who came across this tale while working in the Harare region of Ethiopia, spices up his retelling by incorporating Amharic words and phrases.