Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.

by John. Steptoe

Paperback, 1989





Scholastic Books (1989)


Mufaro's two beautiful daughters, one bad-tempered, one kind and sweet, go before the king, who is choosing a wife.

User reviews

LibraryThing member spartyliblover
Manyara and Nyasha are the two beautiful daughters of Mufaro, the sisters are very different in how they treat others and when the King calls for the most worthy and beautiful girls of the land to choose one to be his wife, the sisters differences are what matter. The two sisters and their father are well developed and the beautiful illustrations help to add an additional layer to each character. The plot flows well throughout the story and the pictures help to keep the story moving. The setting is not well described in words other than the first page, but Steptoe's pictures make it so that words are not needed to set the scene. This book would be great in a public library and I would recommend it for parents to read to their children because the African names could be frustrating for beginning readers. Also the moral of the story is clear, be kind, and could be a great stepping stone for parents to talk about being nice with their children.… (more)
LibraryThing member barefootTL
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters – John Steptoe
ELIB 530A – LibraryThing Part C – Traditional Lit. – Book 5
This book was a refreshing read because the story is a simple tale and the illustrations go above and beyond what is needed to help tell the story visually. It is a Cinderella type story that is set in tribal West Africa. The king announces that he wishes to choose a bride from the most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land. Mufaro has two beautiful daughters that he encourages to journey to the capitol city to see if the king will choose them. One of them, Manyara, is selfish and rude. The other, Nyasha, is compassionate and self-effacing. The deeds and exchanges that the young women have with others are told simply and effectively. In the end the king chooses Nyasha not only because of her beauty but also because of her character. The illustrations were inspired by the ruins of an ancient city in Zimbabwe, and the flora and fauna of that region. There is an unexpected lushness in the environment and in the costumes of the characters. This book is an excellent one to use as an introduction to one of the lands of Africa.… (more)
LibraryThing member artlibby
Inspired by an African folktale, this story relays the virtue of kindness to its readers. Two sisters who have little in common outside of their shared beauty live with their father in a small village. One sister is bad tempered while the other is kind, a fact they both hide from their adoring father. An invitation from the king to bring forth "The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land" brings these differences to light. The story takes place against a beautiful Zimbabwean backdrop alive with an abundance of greens and brightly colored birds. Highly realistic illustrations depicting the facial expressions of the main characters help tell the story. The book may seem predictable at times, but fantastical elements and a surprise ending will keep readers on their toes. Recommended for elementary school libraries.… (more)
LibraryThing member cvyork
plot not fully developed because Nyasha never runs into the man without a head. How was this left out?
LibraryThing member enagreen
This book addresses the issues of pride vs. humility and kindness vs. selfishness. It would be a great book to read together as a class or in a small reading group and then have a discussion about how we should treat other people. It would be interesting to talk about motivation and rewards for behavior as well. Just as Nyasha's motivation for being kind was not so that she would be recognized or become queen, our motivation for treating people kindly shouldn't be for recognition.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jenny_Laura
I've read this book with my students, and it teaches great morals and the importance of working hard. The difference between the two daughters is very apparent, and it is fun to see how they go through what their father asks them to do.

It would be a great book to have my students summarize and evaluate the important parts of the book.… (more)
LibraryThing member ejhamilton
This was a great fairytale that told a story of two sisters where one had more morals than the other and a better heart. Because of this that sister became Queen and the other sister had to be her servent. It teaches that having a good heart pays off. The illustrations were very vivid and hand drawn.
LibraryThing member kp119190
Mufaro’s beautiful daughters. In this story a man named Mufaro had two beautiful daughters. Everyone thought they were beautiful. Manyara was a girl that had a bad temper. Nyasha was strong and beautiful. Manyara always teased Nyasha and told her she was going to be queen and that Nysha was going to be her slave. As Nyasha did her chores she saw a snake and she talked with it. The next day the girls father got a letter saying that he needed a queen. The father said I will send you both. Manyara got greedy and left earlier than everyone else. On the way she ran in to a boy, a old woman, and a man. Manyara did not listen to anything they said. The next day when Nysha and father left they looked for Manyara when they could not find her they left. Nysha ran into the same people and listened to them. When the family reached the town they saw Manyara. Manyara said do not go in there. Nysha did though and it turned out that all of the people were king. He was seeing if they would be good people. So Nysha married the king and Manyara was her servant.

I though this book was very good. I enjoyed. I thought it taught a lesson that you should not get greedy.

This could be used in a lesson about greed.
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LibraryThing member Calleen1
This story truly emphasizes the importance of being kind. I liked how the prince was different characters in the book to test the sisters personality/reactions. Strangly enough, upon reading the story you can see their beauty within their actions (the best of the story overall). This book makes a great gift for the family not only because of the moral (in which these days is hard to come by), but also because of the gorgeous artwork. This tale would also work with older students when looking at folktales across cultures.… (more)
LibraryThing member cejerry97
This is a story about two African sisters, one who is good and one who is evil! The two sisters fight for the right to be married to the king, who will only take the "most worthy and beautiful daughter in the land." The evil sister learns that she does not fit this mold, and ends up being a servant in the king's palace. The good sister is praised for her personality, and ends up marrying the king.
Illustrations: painted, Caldecott award
Genre: African Folktale
Type: Picture book - intermediate
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LibraryThing member AwXomeMan
This story is about 2 beautiful daughters. One who is ill-tempered and mean, and the other who is kind-hearted and sweet. The king of the land calls for all the beautiful women of his kingdom to appear before him so that he may choose a queen. The mean daughter decides to leave early so she can meet the king first and be chosen before he can see her sister and along the way she comes across people asking for help and giving her advice and she ignores them all. The next day the kind sister leaves to see the king and she comes across the same people only she helps and listens to them. When the kind sister arrives the mean sister rushes out to her telling her that there is a serpent in there that told all her sins and it would have eaten her if she hadn't ran. The kind sister continues on and learns that the serpent is just the king in disguise and that everyone she and her sister met on their way was also the king. The king then chooses the kind sister as his queen because of her kindness to him and the mean sister becomes her servant.

I thought this story was very nice. The illustrations where very well done, almost like photographs, and the moral of being kind to others was great.

For classroom extension I could use this book to teach a unit on African folktales or a unit on folktales from multiple different cultures. I could also use it to teach a lesson focusing on being kind and humble as the sister who becomes queen was.
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LibraryThing member PeterSinclair
This is a beautifully illustrated book about King Mufaro and his daughters Manyara and Nyasha. Of course, one is pure and the other is selfish and greedy. Manyara is mean to Nyasha and only dreams of being queen one day. Nyasha is gentle and kind and loves the land. She befriends a snake, who eventually is the king. When Manyara is tested, she fails. Nyasha becomes queen and Manyara becomes her servant.… (more)
LibraryThing member EHSlibrarian
This African tale evokes the Cinderella story in its portrayal of two sisters, spiteful Manyara and considerate Nyasha, and the young king who is searching for a bride. Mufaro's two beautiful daughters go before the king who is choosing a wife. When the king disguises himself he discovers the true nature of his daughters and decides which is fit to rule… (more)
LibraryThing member msshank
Mufaro's daughter is a wonderful book! It's main focus was about the difference between mean and nice. It shows both sides and the outcome that usually happens. The good daughter, who the mean daughter tortures and call bad names, ends up living happily ever after. This goes to show those who are kind to others will usually get the best out of the situation. I recommend this book for any grade level.… (more)
LibraryThing member creeh
mufaro's beautiful daughters is an african folk tale that talks about how kindness wins, and meaness loses. two beautiful sisters live in africa with their father. one is very mean to the other, and the other is very kind to everyone and everything around her. then, the king announces that he will be looking for a wife and all the beautiful women should come to the palace to be determined. the mean sister is very rude to the other sister exclaiming that she will be wueen and her sister will work as a servant to her. throughout the journey to the palace, each of the girls are magically tested to see if they are worthy to be queen, and to no surprise, the mean one fails because she was cruel to the magical beings put before her, and the kind daughter passes the tests famously. she is chosen to be queen, and the mean sister works as her servant.

this story has very beautiful pictures, and the story itself draws you in because of the magical factor. all little girls want to be princesses, and this story is perfect at showing that "princesses" are kind and good, while cruelty and badness is not rewarded.

you could you this book as a reflective story about manners, and also a turning point for discussion on different cultures fairy tales and folklore.
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LibraryThing member calvinsmith8
The story is about a man with two equally beautiful daughters. But as luck would have it, one was kind and considerate while the other was selfish and spoiled The king sends a message to all the villages in the land, saying that he was looking for he most beautiful and worthy girl in all the land to become his bride.
What happens next is a sequence of events that allow the king to realize that even though they are both equally beautiful, the only one of the daughters is worthy of his hand in marriage.… (more)
LibraryThing member eevers
An African Cinderella tale, where two beautiful sisters (one spiteful and one kind) live, farm and then are asked to the big city so the king can choose a wife. The king shape-shifts into a snake, a older woman, a young boy to know each woman's true character.
LibraryThing member kkcrossley
In an African village Mufaro has two beautiful daughters, one kind and good & one haughty and proud. The king wants to marry the most beautiful girl in the land and both girls must go to see who wins the kings heart.
LibraryThing member mstuhan
Mythology unit -- writing your own myths -- character education, all good places to start.
LibraryThing member BKorfel
Another great life lessons book that I thought I had read but wanted to re-visit. Teaching about not being judgmental seems to be the overlying theme of the book. Classroom use: Teaching about other cultures and life lessons such as not judging. Could be used as a read aloud and discussion about those topics.
LibraryThing member rdelamatre
A beautiful African Cinderella story, the pages pop with life-like illustrations and the story engages sympathy and triumph with the plight and success of Nyasha. Along the way it teaches valuable lessons about not being shallow and judgmental and seeing people's value in who they are, not how they look.
LibraryThing member acochra
This book would give elementary students a look at a piece of the African culture. The main characters have traditional African names, and the illutrations show what they wore. This would be a good book to add in a unit on fairy tales to show how a story can be interpreted in different ways according to the culture you are viewing it from. The Cinderella story has many different versions, so this would be a good story to incorporate into this unit. It is a story that many children can relate to.… (more)
LibraryThing member Kaberasturi
Caldecott Honor Award. Mufaro is a well known man in a small african village and is known to have two of the most beautiful daughters. One daughter is kind and virtuous and the other cruel and selfish, unbeknownst to her father. A time comes when the king requests one of his daughters hand in marriage. The king disguises himself as a snake, hungry boy and old woman and tests each of the girls in virtue. Nyasha's true virtue shows through these tests and she is chosen to be the new Queen. The central issue in this book is virtue. This book could be used in 3rd-5th grade classes.… (more)
LibraryThing member kristenpittenger
I really enjoyed this tale! It reminded me of Cinderella, though with out the evil stepmom and the fairy god mother. But it had a lot of similar elements such as the idea of good vs. evil, kind vs. cruel, and how being a good person is what gets you further in life. The pictures were stunning as well.
LibraryThing member elmartin
In trying to find a wife, the king sends a message saying he is looking for the most beautful and worthy girl. Mufaro, having two beautiful daughters, sends them both to meet the king. On their journey we learn that one is selfish and mean while the other is compassionate and kind. In the end, the king realizes this himself and chooses the kind daughter as his wife.… (more)

Original publication date


Physical description

10.9 inches


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