The Chipmunk and the Leopard: A Ghanaian Folktake
Retold by Ofori-Mankata
Trafford Publishing

"Chipmunk knew what was going to happen and so turned around and dashed towards the bush on the edge of the compound."

This Ghanaian folktale begins with Leopard and Chipmunk attending the same party given by the Silk-Cotton Tree. Because Chipmunk is too small to satisfy Leopard's ravenous appetite, he was safe to befriend the big predator. After some small talk, they decide to spend some time together after the party, and a deep friendship is begun. They spend time at one another's houses and share many common interests.

One day when Chipmunk is helping his cousin build a new house, Chipmunk discovers an odd tool—a cutlass. He quickly discovers that this cutlass is an amazingly sharp tool, able to cut almost anything. He decides to hide his special tool from those around him, because he does not want to share it. Only using it at night, Chipmunk makes up extravagant ghost stories to explain how he is getting all his work done. Leopard doesn't believe him, so he decides to investigate. Unbeknownst to Chipmunk, Leopard spies his friend using the cutlass to cut down a tree. When he questions Chipmunk, Leopard is greatly disappointed and hurt. After much trickery, Leopard is finally able to catch Chipmunk in his lie.

Ofori-Mankata fills this interesting and thoughtful folktale with brilliantly colorful pictures. At the end of the book are comprehension questions for classroom discussion. The book is a fun read and an interesting taste of Ghanaian culture.

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