Mollel, Tololwa M. – The King and the Tortoise – Book Review

Click here to buy The King and the Tortoise
An arrogant African king believes he is the cleverest person in the world. In order to fuel his ego, he challenges his subjects to an impossible task. If they are able to weave him a robe of smoke, they will be smarter than the King.

The nimble rabbit fails, as does the sly and cunning fox, the powerful and fierce leopard, and the mighty elephant. So, when the tortoise accepts the challenge, everyone laughs. But the tortoise does not need to be nimble or sly or fierce or mighty, he only needs to be clever. And clever he is. Tololwa M. Mollel creates a suspenseful and humorous story with a lesson about pride.

Kathy Blankley’s illustrations below with the warmth of an African sun. The attempts by the various animals to weave a robe out of smoke are vivid and engaging. Each page is trimmed with a bright African design. I love the closing picture of the happy tortoise.

Parents will enjoy reading this book to their child. It would be interesting to stop and ask the child how they would try to create a robe out of smoke for the King. For children reading themselves, I would put the level at grade 3. Well recommended.


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages