How The Leopard Got His Claws by Chinua Achebe with John Iroaganachi, illus. by Mary Grandpre
This fable begins with all the forest animals living amongst each other as friends. Without confrontation there was no need for sharp teeth or claws. Even the Leopard was the king only had small teeth and no claws. With the exception of the dog, all the animals help build a house were they could rest. Everything is going well until the dog uses violence to over take the Leopards power. The Leopard leaves longing for revenge on the dog and the other animals who turned their back on him.
I read this a while back and enjoyed it. Though now that I am rereading for review, I am enjoying it that much more. The animal power struggle reminded me of Orwell's Animal Farm .
"King Leopard turned to the animals and said " let us go in together and drive out the enemy. He is strong, but he is alone. We are many. Together we can drive him out of our house." But the goat said, "We cannot face him. Look at his strong teeth! He will tear us to pieces."
Grandpre's illustrations are lovely. The warm palette is very fitting to the stories tone. The vibrant action also balances out the text.