How the Guinea Fowl Got Her Spots, A Swahili Tale of Friendship
Carolrhoda Books, 2004.  Hardcover ISBN: 978-0876144169
Paperback ISBN: 978-0876145371

A guinea fowl and a cow against a lion? What chance have they got? With great courage and a beautiful disguise, the two friends keep each other safe. To this day the guinea fowl has milky white spots (and a loud voice).

Have you ever seen a guinea fowl? It’s obvious those clean white spots on the shiny black feathers need an explanation! African storytellers took the time to observe animals and people very carefully, and sometimes made up explanations like this just for fun.

You can make up your own “pourquoi” tale to explain how an animal or some part of nature got to be the way it is today. If you tell how an animal got its color or stripes or spots, see if you can avoid the two most common ideas: magic or paint. What else could change an animal’s color? Mud, rain, tears, fire, ashes, fingerprints…or maybe milk!

Teaching Guides
You can find teaching guides and other downloadable materials on my For Teachers page.
Awards and Reviews for How the Guinea Fowl Got Her Spots
“An endearing retelling of a Swahili story, in which Ms. Knutson has woven together the elements of a wonderful friendship and a traditional ‘explanation’ folktale to create a fine and appealing new story.”
The New York Times

Minnesota Book Award, Picturebook

CBC-NCSS Notable Children’s Trade book in the Field of Social Studies

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon

Buy This Book
Amazon buttonB&N button