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Mabela the Clever

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4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  127 Ratings  ·  23 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ronyell
Mabela

I have read many African folktales over the years and I have enjoyed almost every single one of them! So, I stumbled upon this new African folktale retold by Margaret Read MacDonald called “Mabela the Clever” along with illustrations by Tim Coffey and man, it was a truly fantastic tale that every child should read!

Mabela is the smallest mouse in her village and even though it has been said that the mice are all foolish creatures, Mabela proves to be more clever than the other mice, especially si
...more
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.
Sarah Nottingham
Mabela The Clever by Margaret MacDonald is about a clever mouse outwitting a conniving cat. The story starts with a father mouse teaching his little daughter mouse, Mabela, about cleverness. She must keep her ears open, listen, observe her surrounding and pay attention to what you are saying. One day a cat comes to visit the village and informs the mice that if they come to secret meeting, he will teach them all the secrets of the cat. All the mice arrived the next day. The cat ordered them to l ...more
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
Sarah
May 10, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
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 it was amazing
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!
Amy Goldstein
Feb 15, 2015 Amy Goldstein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: central-message
Mabela's father teaches her how to be clever and this will benefit her and future generations. This book is a wonderful book to perform with opportunities for different voices and acting out the scenes. I used this book to identify the central message of a story. Many lessons can be gained from this fantastic folktale.
Connie
Jan 11, 2011 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sara D
I would love to know if others have used this for storytime. There would have to be an audience that was already familiar with narrative, because this book has a fun plot that is also complex. Also, it's a long book!
Margie
May 11, 2008 Margie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
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.
Ruth
Apr 03, 2008 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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.
Beverly
Oct 05, 2013 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Christine Turner
Mar 14, 2009 Christine Turner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mouse, cat
An African folktale about a mouse who pays close attention to her surroundings and avoids being tricked by the cat. www.hcpl.net
Sarah
May 12, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storytime
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.
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!
Peacegal
This is a cute story with the moral of paying attention to what's going on around you in order to avoid getting into trouble!
Paula
An African folktale about a mouse who pays close attention to her surroundings and avoids being tricked by the cat.
Cheryl M.
Jan 22, 2009 Cheryl M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it  ·  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!
Chandra
Chandra rated it it was amazing
Jul 17, 2012
Nat Whitman
Nat Whitman rated it it was amazing
Sep 07, 2012
Jenny
Jenny rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2008
Sharon Quinn
Sharon Quinn rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2016
Chelsea
Chelsea rated it really liked it
Feb 05, 2011
Bekka
Bekka rated it liked it
Mar 15, 2016
Montika Allenatkinson
Montika Allenatkinson rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2011
Janet
Janet rated it really liked it
Nov 12, 2016
Jeni Ray
Jeni Ray rated it it was amazing
Feb 20, 2017
Carole
Carole rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2011
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