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Sundiata: Lion King of Mali
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Sundiata: Lion King of Mali

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In the thirteenth century, Sundiata overcame physical handicaps, social disgrace, and strong opposition to rule the West African trading empire of Mali.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published January 22nd 1999 by Clarion Books (first published 1992)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  209 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Shay Hopper
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wedes-shelf
I really enjoyed reading this book. I was very enlightened by the love of a parent to their child and the courage of a young man's promised to fulfill his destiny. This book read like a TV movie and you were waiting to see who the good guys were and who were the bad guys. To wait and see who would conquer all. In Sundiata story was one of great improbabilities, the fact that the old buffalo women in the forest was befriended and then gave over he spirit, and then his mother having a hunchback an ...more
In this picture book, the illustrations are brilliant cut-outs, giving an almost three-dimensional appearance to the artwork. The vibrancy of the bold hues also illuminates this tale of a legendary Mali king.

Lots of stories of heroes are about people who grew up in adverse circumstances (think King Arthur and Harry Potter, e.g.). But Sundiata grew up with adversity. Born to an ugly, hunchbacked mother, he was incapable of speech or mobility for his first seven years and subsequently despised and
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I loved this book!

One of Disney's better movies is The Lion King. The Story of Sundiata inspired The Lion King. But this story of Sundiata, The Lion King, is SO much better than the movie. Sundiata was not able to walk or talk for his first nine years, yet he overcame his disabilities and kept his innate compassion, and became a remarkable ruler.

And the artwork! Absolutely, stunningly beautiful!

Alan Bach
May 13, 2019 rated it liked it
The illustrations in this book are fantastic, with bold, contrasting colors making them really pop. The actual text on the other hand was a bit of a let down. While it is understandable for in depth detail to be pared down for a children's book, the historical synopsis on the very last page told me important details that weren't mentioned at all in the actual story.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this one.
Shea Lavalier
• Interest Level: Middle Grades
• Reading Level: 5.2
• Guided Reading Level: P
• Genre: Traditional Literature
• Support for the genre: This story is meant to be told to different generations and states this in the introduction.
• Additional Genres: Picture Books

A woman is brought to the king of lions and is said to have the strength of the buffalo. The King marries her and has a child who can’t walk or talk. The King’s other wife gets jealous because she has a son with the King as well and i
Carla Pitre
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think this is an amazing story that was great to read. It is a great story about teaching people not to judge others on how they may look on the outside because you never know what the future may hold for them.
Starting out, you have two hunters that pass an old ugly lady that is hungry. Instead of ignoring her and going on their way, they actually talk to her and are really nice and give her some food. They find out from talking to her how to kill this buffalo that no other hunter has been a
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is illustrated wonderfully. The images are vibrant and powerful. They cover the full pages and add to the feeling of the book: a feeling of power and heritage.
Sundiata was the child of the King of Mali and a damsel that was born of the buffalo. King Maghan was born of the Lion so this would make a good pair. However, their child Sundiata was sickly for quite some time. He never spoke and would not walk. The king wanted him to take the necessary steps to fulfill his role as the heir to
Breianne Ehigie
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this read this semester, it is a story about a ruler of Mali that although had physical limitations overcame his trials and tribulations. This is a great story for any child to read for encouragement I think. And besides I’m a sucker for the movie too…and yes I cry every time I see it and it just touches me in a way!

The story of Sundiata reminded me greatly of the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis from the Bible too. I recognized some similarities to the movie of The Lion K
Shamona Thomas
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are many versions of this story, but this version in particular is a version for children, as the author that created a pop up book for it. However this is an Epic story that is retold by what is called Groits. If you like a story for preserverance this is a good story, the main character is someone who only certain people knew he would reign as king. His own blood betrayed him, Sundiata learned to stand up be strong and take back what is his. The good thing about this story being retold i ...more
Catalina Garcia
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this read, it is a story about a ruler of Mali that although had physical limitations overcame them and became a great part of history.

The story of Sundiata reminded me greatly of the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis from the Bible, and also I recognized some similarities to the movie of The Lion King. Although the legend of Sundiata was passed down from generations to generations, and there could have been some alterations to the story, I think it was a very well preserv
Melody Savage
Most of us are familiar with medieval times in Europe, but what about other parts of the world? This picture book is an historical fiction simplifying and overviewing an episode in the history of the African empires of the middle ages. Readers can see people all over the world have similar feelings and challenges while learning cultural differences. The cut-paper illustrations are a colorful, enjoyable study in themselves with autheticity reflected in the colors and patterns, and even in the cha ...more
Jul 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
With an intended audience range of 4 year olds to 8 years old, this book treads on dangerous territory. In a culture of violence, do we really want to introduce sorcery, curses, witches, and violence in a positive light to our pre-schoolers? I give 1 star as a token vote for the admirable illustrations.
Jan 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous paper-cut illustrations. The note at the end explains the research and artistic decisions made by Wisniewski. It's a good story to read one-on-one with a precocious tyke. Plenty of opportunity for questions and further exploration.

Nov 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Engaging, interesting, colourful, incredibly detailed paper-cut illustrations. It's a David Wisniewski book; what more can I say?! I love it that with each of his books I read, I learn a little about an unfamiliar culture or history.
Story of the life and triumph of the cripple prince who becomes a warrior and powerful king. Read it to the kids a fair amount.

See: Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali by D.T. Niane for longer/adult version.
Dec 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: x-2014, non-fiction
The illustrations in this book are utterly fantastic.
Not his best, but loved the illustrations, again, good for older elementary ed aged kids
Mar 10, 2016 added it
there is a mom and king and they have a crippled son and as the son turns king he gets better and is fine in the end, the end.
Oct 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations this man does for children's books are mind blowing.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa
A children's book that I picked up because it is about Mali - wonderful book- if you have kids get it for them - it will introduce them to a new place and a wonderful new culture.
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: weird, k12
crazy it has a giant alive rock with a beard. it was weird it is weird and it always will be weird.
The ballad of Sundiata recants the heroic efforts of a prince who could not walk or hear to fight back and gain his throne.
Apr 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: older kids
beautiful artwork adorns this distilled version of the epic of Sundiata---the pre-Disney lion king of Mali. Good for the older picture book set learning about Africa.
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it
My 1st foray into African history through a children's book. Colorful book (suited for 8+)cos it involves war, fighting, multiple wives, step son making it difficult to explain it to a child.
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history-for-kids
Read in conjunction with Story of the World, Vol. II
Whoa - so hard to follow. I am afraid she won't remember this - only the Disney version...
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
As much as I loved the cut paper illustrations I don't understand how this book is intended for little kids.
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
"The illustrations this man does for children's books are mind blowing.
Apr 28, 2009 rated it liked it
When i read this book it told the story of a man who was a hero to many in Africa and changed and made a new point in history.
rated it really liked it
Nov 25, 2008
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David R. Wisniewski was an American writer and illustrator best known for children's books.

He attended the University of Maryland, College Park but quit after one semester to join the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, graduating in 1973. He worked for several years as a clown before moving to Maryland and joining the Prince George's Country Puppet Theatre where he met his wi