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Book #3 of Skyhook World Classics!

The Magic Flyswatter

A Superhero Tale of Africa
Retold from the Mwindo Epic

Book illustration

By Aaron Shepard

Cover art by Xiaojun Li

The storyteller stands beside the fire, swaying, dancing, miming, singing, reciting. With one hand he shakes a gourd rattle, with the other he swings a conga—a flyswatter made with a buffalo tail on a wooden handle. Anklet bells tinkle as he moves. Three young men beat a wooden drum with sticks.

Listening to him is a crowd of men, women, and children. They sing along at a song’s refrain, they repeat whole lines of the story when he pauses to see if they’re paying attention. They encourage him with little shouts, whoops, claps. Food and drink are passed around.

In a mountain rainforest of the Congo, a Nyanga village hears once more the tale of its favorite hero—Mwindo, the one born walking, the one born talking . . . .

Chapter book • Ages 10 & up


Aaron Shepard is the award-winning author of The Baker’s Dozen, The Sea King’s Daughter, The Monkey King, and many more children’s books, while his Web site is known internationally as a prime resource for folktales, storytelling, and reader’s theater. Once a professional storyteller, Aaron specializes in lively retellings of folktales and other traditional literature, which have won him honors from the American Library Association, the New York Public Library, the Bank Street College of Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the American Folklore Society.

Xiaojun Li, a native of Inner Mongolia, was an award-winning children’s book illustrator and art director in China before moving to the United States.


Skyhook Press

Hardcover ~ 2008

Paperback ~ 2008

Ebook ~ 2009

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Book cover


Reviews

COMMENTS ON SKYHOOK WORLD CLASSICS

“Shepard’s Skyhook World Classics series retells portions of epic narratives sure to pique kids’ interest. He cannily selects episodes likely to grab the attention of a wide range of middle-graders, [while] his storytelling voice varies to hint at the style of the original. These mini-novels would make fun classroom readalouds, too. No dumb-downs . . . Rated S for Snapped Up.”—S. C. Poe, Route 19 Writers

“What a wonderful way to expose and broaden the minds of our young people and adults. To be transported to another place and time. To experience stories that have lasted for centuries . . . These books have taken my grandsons away from their video and DVD games.”—Sandra Heptinstall, Whispering Winds Book Reviews

“Aaron Shepard does for folklore and epic poems what Charles and Mary Lamb did for Shakespeare in the 1800s—produces short, exciting, plot-centered adaptations that make the originals accessible to readers young and old, and that may tempt you to dip into the real thing someday.”—Susan Chapek


Sample Text

She‑Mwindo heard the noise. He went to the house of his favorite wife. He saw the boy and was full of rage. “What is this? Did I not say ‘no sons’? Did I not say I would kill him?”

He threw his spear at the baby. Mwindo waved his conga. The spear fell short and stuck in the floor. Mwindo pulled it up. He broke it in two.

She‑Mwindo cried out. “Aieeeeeee! What kind of child is this?”

Mwindo sang and danced and waved his conga.

I am Mwindo,

the one born walking,

the one born talking.

O my father, you do not want me.

O my father, you try to kill me.

But what can you do against me?


Sample text copyright © 2008 Aaron Shepard. Illustration copyright © 2008 Xiaojun Li.


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