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Sense Pass King: A Story from Cameroon
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Sense Pass King: A Story from Cameroon

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Deep in the forest, in the land of seven villages, there lived an extraordinary child. Her brilliance was so dazzling and her gifts so exceptional that the villagers called her Sense Pass King, because she had more sense than even the king. When news of the girl reached the jealous king, he became enraged, and so began a fierce battle between might and wits that would dete ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Holiday House
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  94 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: (With Caveat) Young Folklore Enthusiasts
Ma'antah - a prodigiously clever young girl who arouses the jealousy of the king of the land of the seven villages, when she is given the nickname "Sense Pass King" - survives numerous attempts on her life in this revisionist retelling of a traditional Cameroonian tale, eventually becoming an unofficial royal adviser. When a powerful emperor announces that his daughter will be given in marriage to the suitor he deems most worthy, it is Ma'antah's quick thinking and bravery which win her hand for ...more
Veronica Hammerling
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I remember checking this book out of my library over and over as a child. The beautiful illustrations and captivating story haven’t left my mind since.
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love all 4 children's books my daughter gave me, with her wonderful inscriptions, but perhaps this is my favorite. This is a saucy and clever heroine who finds harmonious ways to outwit the king's efforts to do away with her, until the people recognize her gifts sufficiently to place HER on the throne.
The Cameroonian story along with the brilliant colors of the illustrations make for an enjoyable reading experience for all ages.
Karen Witzler
Folktale from Cameroon about a girl born with a brilliant mind and brave spirit. Her name, Sense Pass King, alludes to the fact that she is much wiser than the local ruler.
Faith Hough
Gorgeous illustrations, of course!
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: folklore-rec
Ages 6 and up. A girl from a village in Cameroon outsmarts the king every time. Beautifully illustrated.
Malaika Hopson
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book, “Sense Pass King,” is a West African folktale that is about an unusual child born that displays remarkable traits at a young age. Traits such as walking and talking at a young age amaze the entire village. This unusual child name is Ma'antah. The child was nick named the "Sense Pass King," because the villagers claimed she had more sense than their king. The king of the village becomes aware of this young girl. However, he does not like Ma'antah due the cleverness she displays. The kin ...more
Sam Grace
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Heroine lovers, illustration lovers, ppl who want to see awesome POC heroes
Lots and lots I liked about this book:

1) The illustrations are fantastic. I LOVE Sense Pass King riding out of the forest on the jaguar with the snake on her shoulders. What a fierce little girl! And she only gets awesomer as she gets older.

2) She is a heroine in all the traditional ways that boys are heroes (not surprising, since Katrin Tchana changed the story her husband grew up with in Cameroon to feature a girl instead of a boy), and I think that is still needed.

3) There is a little girl wh
I enjoyed this book because it is unique. The brave and clever main character that is wiser than the king is a young girl rather than a young boy, which is often the typical sex of a character with these attributes. The setting is also different than most American children's books because the story takes place in an African village. This would be a good book to read to children in order for them to see that girls/women can also be brave, intelligent, and powerful just like men. It also gives the ...more
Camille Rivera
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
In this book, Ma'antah, also known as Sense Pass King, is an incredibly smart and wise little girl who impressed everyone with what she was able to do. When the king found out about her, he wanted her killed. After several failed attempts, he decided to take her as a servant. It was then, that Ma'antah outsmarted the king and eventually took the throne from him by vote of the people. The illustrations of this book are absolutely beautiful! The story, on the other hand, is interesting, but a bit ...more
Maria Garcia
Interest Level: Ages K-4
Reading Level: Ages 4-5
Lexile Reading Level: AD510L
Nominated for: Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (in 2005)
Georgia Children's Picture Story Book Award (in 2006)
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (in 2004)
Red Clover Award (in 2004)
Treasure State Award (in 2004)

An emotional children's book that portrays the ancient culture in Cameroon, Africa and its royal traditions, illustrated with colorful and realistic pictures. Excellent option for Multicultural lessons/classroo
Lisa Lecompte
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales
Ma’antah is a very smart, young girl with more sense than the king, earning her the name “Sense Pass King.” Angering the king, he orders his soldiers to get rid of Ma’antah several times, but each time he is outsmarted. He finally decides to have Ma’antah live with him in the palace. When the king has the chance to marry the emperor’s daughter, Ma’antah is able to convince Titayah to return to the palace with them. Facing many challenges on the way, Ma’antah loses her name but is rewarded for he ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who enjoy stories of children outsmarting those in power
I received a message last night that a second grade class wanted to come at opening time the next day. My present library doesn't have a program collection & I hadn't been doing elementary programs at my last posting. So I ran to the folktale section and saw this. The class was quite attentive and enjoyed this story of a girl with more sense than the King. ...more
Becca Dunlap
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The child was nick named the "Sense Pass King," because the villagers claimed she had more sense than their king. He couldn't get rid of her, so he required that she stay by his side at all times, until an unexpected occurrence happens on a voyage... This is a wonderful story of a strong and very intelligent young woman. ...more
Kristie Oke
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book has rich illustrations and a strong female main character, even though the original story has a male main character. It reveals that the Cameroon people value honesty, wisdom, and wit. I enjoyed the creativity of the main character. This book could be used in a lesson or unit about different types of literature.
Canadian Reader
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful art and a great traditional story from Cameroon. Purists might be uncomfortable with the fact that the author changed the central character, "Sense Pass King", an extraordinarily clever child, from male to female in her telling. The story still works extremely well and could be shared with a range of elementary grade levels. ...more
May 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautifully illustrated with colorful, detailed depictions of life in Cameroon. The text flows smoothly and has a sense of rhythm to it. The text, paired with the illustrations, give a clear understanding of the life and traditions in Cameroon when this story originated.
Stephanie Allen
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
The is an old tale from Cameroon where a young girl is born very smart. The villagers say she has more sense than even the king, hence her name. The king is threatened by her and keeps her near. Eventually she is made queen by the villagers.
I really like this story because it honors a female character. Ma'atannah is a clever little girl. However, the king in her village does not like anyone brighter than himself. He sends his men to try and capture the young girl, but she escapes each of their traps. ...more
Apr 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Writing a little stiff, but this wasn't a tale I knew, so I appreciated that. Illustrations are pure Trina-goodness. ...more
Great story of leadership, and using your brain to solve problems. Invovles using your imagination and being yourself.
I love Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations for African folktales! ...more
Oct 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
gorgeous pix of course; tale with spunky heroine; girl power!
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I love books where the girls are smarter than the boys! And of course this one is illustrated by my favorite, Trina Schart Hyman.
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