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Author & Illustrator: John Steptoe   Narrators: Robin Miles, Robin Miles

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    ISBN: 9781591125426
    Release Date: 05/30/2001
    Grades: K - 3
    Reading Level: 4.3
    Length:  17 Min 01 Sec

    Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters CD
    ISBN: 9781591123170


    "....This should be included in all library audio collections for young children." - School Library Journal


    Review by: AudioFile Magazine - February 1, 2002
    "Listening to children's books you have read aloud yourself is an interesting experience; you appreciate the positives and negatives of each performance in light of your own. Ultimately, however, it is often the musical accompaniment that makes the most difference. MOLE MUSIC, written by David McPhail and performed by Jim Weiss, is a perfect selection for a read-along. Weiss's narration of McPhail's lovely story is slow and gentle, allowing the reader time to read along and enjoy the wonderful illustrations. The violin music in the background enhances the mood--from the screeching in the beginning to the soft, gentle melodies that entertain the world in the end. The illustrations, showing the double story above and below the ground, underscore the themes of practice, peace, and humility. Likewise, it is the music that makes the difference in the read-aloud version of MAMA DON'T ALLOW, by Thacher Hurd, performed by Tom Chapin. The wonderful jazzy introductory music sets the tone, and off we go. Chapin's friendly, easy-going voice invites us along, and the read-aloud format with background music makes it easier to narrate from the balloons on the pages. Chapin's alligator voices are excellent--a little sly, a little rough, and each one unique. Even good background music can't make up for an unimpressive narrator. In MUFARO'S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS, read by Robin Miles, the narration is almost too slow, building little momentum for the story. Miles's accent is interesting, although it's hard to tell if it's intended to be some African dialect. With little differentiation among the characters and a singsong quality to the narration, Steptoe's African retelling of a version of "Cinderella" becomes monotonous. And finally, music and sound effects can help improve a less than exceptional story line. In SPACE CASE, by Edward Marshall, the music adds to the Halloween mood, but it is the computer-simulated voice for the alien and the real kids' voices in this multicast performance that make it an enjoyable listening experience. The voices and musical accompaniment only help to enhance the whole experience and make it a solid choice for younger kids."
    Review by: Today's Librarian - October 1, 2001
    "Based on an African folktale first published in 1895, this Caldecott-winning tale is the classic Cinderella story with a twist -- true beauty is on the inside. Although Steptoe's lush illustrations of Africa's people and jungle environment are exotic, they tend to be dark. Written for ages 4 to 8, the text is too complex as a first-read but easy for older children in free-reading situations. The African accent of the narrator sounds false at times, but livens the tale. Animal and other nature sounds are used to good effect. Teachers and parents can use the tale as a springboard to discuss concepts such as kindness, respect and selfishness, as well as the theme of good triumphing over evil."
    Review by: School Library Journal - October 1, 2001
    "This cassette read-along of the Caldecott Honor picture book by John Steptoe (Lothrop, 1987) is an extremely effective presentation of a traditional Zimbabwe folk tale about a man with two daughters -- the deceitful, selfish Manyara and her sister Nyasha, who is good and generous. When the King sends for a bride, he chooses Nyasha after appearing to her disguised as a snake and a young boy. Narrator Robin Miles' intonation and pacing have an African cadence. Her voice is pleasant, and she varies her tones to create the different characters. Sound effects of jungle animals, rushing water, and background voices add to the presentation. The sound of a page being turned is used to cue listeners to follow the text in the book. This should be included in all library audio collections for young children."
    Review by: Booklist Magazine - January 1, 2001
    "A Kaffir folktale inspired John Steptoe's 1988 Caldecott Honor Book. When a young king announces he is searching for a wife, Mufaro sends his two beautiful daughters-jealous, bad-tempered Manyara and kind, sweet Nyasha-as candidates. Predictably, Manyara has her comeuppance and Nyasha triumphs. Robin Miles reads with an authentic African lilt and by turns makes her voice seem amiable and melodious, egotistical and conceited, and even noble, when she mimics the king's demand for "the most beautiful daughters in the land." Background sound effects (humming and chirping insects, exotic bird calls, a rushing river) and intermittent music (including chants and drums) maintain the African flavor. The moving yet simple narrative reproduces Africa's poetic heartbeat."


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