Why the Crab Has No Head

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten - Grade 3
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Nzambi Mpungu, creator of the earth and sky, has spent a long hard day making the Elephant. By nightfall, Nzambi still hasn’t finished her next creation, the Crab, and she tells the little creature to return the following day for a fine head. That night, the proud Crab boasts about the promised head to all the other animals and ends up learning a hard lesson. This tale from the Bakongo people of Zaire, retold and illustrated by Barbara Knutson, will delight readers of all ages.

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Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Publication Date 2009-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 3.7
Text Type Folktale/Legend
BISACS JUV043000, JUV012050, JUV039220
Dewey 398.2
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Lexile 690
Guided Reading Level L
ATOS Reading Level 3.8
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 49304
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Reviewed

Author: Barbara Knutson

Barbara Knutson was the award-winning author and illustrator of many children’s books, including How the Guinea Fowl Got Her Spots and Love and Roast Chicken. A resident of St. Paul and a cherished member of Twin Cities literary community, Ms. Knutson grew up in South Africa and traveled extensively throughout the world. She drew on her firsthand experiences abroad to create the rich, multicultural stories and folktales for which she became so well known. She passed away in 2005.


Publishers Weekly

“The beautifully written text is matched with striking black-and-white illustrations that suggest stark woodcuts. This African tale is artful, using ancient elements to portray a still relevant message: to lie to oneself will surely lead to dishonesty with others.”
Publishers Weekly

The Horn Book Magazine

“The appealing tale is simply told and well presented. . . Brilliant.”
The Horn Book Magazine