Mabela the Clever
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Mabela the Clever

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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  15 reviews
An African folktale about a mouse who pays close attention to her surroundings and avoids being tricked by the cat.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published December 3rd 2005 by Albert Whitman & Company (first published 2000)
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Sarah Hutchinson
Mabela is a very clever little mouse, thanks to the advice her father gave her. When a clever cat comes to the mouse village to invite the foolish mice to join the secret cat society, all the mice end up marching into the woods singing a secret cat song. Mabela is at the front of this line and thanks to the wisdom that her father had pasted on to her she escapes the cat and helps free the mice the cat had caught. And with her cleverness she shares with the mice so that all the mice become clever...more
Winta
My K students loved this story! Mabela's dad taught Mabela some great tips and she was wise to Apply them, saving herself and her community in the end!
Sarah
Mabela, the mouse, has been taught to be clever due to her father's teachings. So when Cat tempts her and some other mouselings into joining a Secret Cat Society, she gradually becomes wary and suspicious. We're anxious to see how quickly she will figure out Cat's ruse. And, this tale wraps up with a meaningful reminder of the lessons: listen, look around, think about what you're saying, and move fast if needed!

From the Limba people of Sierra Leon. What other values does the story highlight? Cle...more
Kirsten
Oct 17, 2008 Kirsten rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: librarians, teachers, parents, small children
This is one of my absolute favorite read-alouds. It's a story told by the Limba people of Sierra Leone, Africa. It's very funny, and also teaches an excellent lesson:
"When you are out and about, keep your ears open and LISTEN.
When you are out and about, keep your eyes open and LOOK AROUND YOU.
When you are speaking, PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING.
And if you have to move, MOVE FAST!"

I'd say that's relevant to just about everyone!
Lisa Vegan
The pictures are great and the moral of the story is great, but its execution is a bit too gloomy (despite the happy ending) and paranoid inducing for my taste. It would work well as a read aloud book to children who are not too sensitive or easily frightened.

I did really like the cultural background information given for the grownups.
Connie
A good story with an unusual moral - at least, I've never heard "Pay attention and THINK about what you're saying!" presented as a moral before, although God knows it ought to be.

No mousies are harmed in the reading of this story. My only real concern with it is that I have no idea how authentic it is.
Ruth
"Limba grandparents say, 'if a person is clever, it is because someone has taught them their cleverness."

This line is indicative of the oral tradition. Mabela's father thought her cleverness and later on Mabela herself teaches her story to her kids.
Margie
This book is an African folktale about wisdom. The mouse Mabela remembers things that she was taught by her father and barely escapes the "fo feng" of the cat. It wasn't as good as some of the other folktales that I have read this year.
Beverly
This picture book folk tale has very nice acrylic illustrations, and a great story about a little mouse who remembers the wisdom of her father, and thereby outwits a scheming cat.
Sarah
Good for preschool story time- use the song as an activity after reading the book- make mouse masks, cat mask, mabela mask to pass out to the kids.
Cheryl
I love reading this book to K-1. I use my "cat voice" and
have the kids tell me what Mabela learned at the end of the
story.
Gin
Jan 27, 2008 Gin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children and teachers
Shelves: picture-books
A retelling of an African Folktale that is fun for preschool through early elementary school audiences. Great Read Aloud!
Christine Turner
An African folktale about a mouse who pays close attention to her surroundings and avoids being tricked by the cat. www.hcpl.net
Cresencia
Fo feng! Great story with a moral.
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