Crafty Chameleon



Crafty Chameleon

text by Mwenye Hadithi

illustrations by Adrienne Kennaway

Age: 2+

Interests: Africa, folktales, animals

Little, Brown and Company: 1987

30 pp.

other African folktales: The Lion and the Mouse, A Story A Story, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

also by this author/illustrator team: Greedy Zebra, Bumping Buffalo, Running Rhino, Lazy Lion

Chameleon is bothered every day by the bouncing leopard and snapping crocodile. Fed up, he tells them if they don’t leave him alone he’ll tie them up like dogs! They laugh, but clever chameleon thinks of a way to deliver on his threat. Without them realizing, he ties the crocodile to the leopard with a long rope and they drag each other all over the jungle until they’re exhausted and contrite. The best part of all is that they never find out the chameleon’s trickery… but he stays hidden just in case they do.

An appealing underdog story of brains over brawn, the kind of story that small children love to hear. The chameleon is bullied and ridiculed, but he still gets the best of both his tormentors. The gorgeous illustrations only add to the charm of this book – beautifully stylized and graceful, and full of motion and expression. Plus it’s fun to see the chameleon blending in with his surroundings.

A simple enough story for 2-year-olds, but its appeal should last right up until school age.

(this title available at

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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