Tales from African Dreamtime

Edited by Magdalene Sacranie; Illustrated by Sarah Bramley; Foreword by Alexander McCall Smith

Out of print

Quick Look

Over forty traditional African folk tales, accompanied by vibrant colour illustrations, retold in a lively, child-friendly style.

252 x 202 mm
Floris Books
Story Books & Anthologies
colour illustrations
Age Range:
From 7 to 10 years
96 pages
Publication date:
26 Feb 2009


‘Too often, the picture that we get of African countries is a bleak one, and we see little of the joy and humour which is so immediately and strikingly evident to any visitor to that part of the world.’
Alexander McCall Smith

From the wild plains of Sudan to a village in Cameroon, this collection of stories gathers together folk tales from many different African traditions. Over forty stories are narrated in a lively, conversational style and accompanied by vibrant colour illustrations. Discover how man lost his tail, puzzle over riddles, and meet a variety of animals from the lazy rabbit to the wicked leopard.

These magical tales are ideal read-aloud bedtime stories for children aged 7 and up, or for older ones to read to themselves.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Alexander McCall Smith
How Wisdom Was Spread — Ghana
The Basket of Dreams — South Africa
How Tortoise Got His Shell — Nigeria
The Two Brothers — Cameroon
The Hunter, the Egg, the Broom and the Stone — Congo
The Bull and the Woman — South Africa
The Lost Amulet — Malawi
The Beautiful Bird — Swaziland
Dilemma Tales — Liberia, Uganda
The Tale of Mr Little-Hare — Zambia
The Garden — Tanzania
The Quick-thinking Hyena — Senegal
The Crocodile and the Monkey — Kenya
The Lord-of-the-Rain’s Daughter — East Africa
The Punishment of the Elephants — Sudan
Elephant, Hippopotamus and Clever Tortoise — Zaire
The Lovely Ten — Mali
Jackal and Little Bush Pig — North Africa
The Quarrel Between Earth and Sky — Nigeria
Father, Son and Donkey — Ghana
Trickster Hare and the Water Hole — West Africa
The Toad and the Frog — Cameroon
Old Tinderbox — South Africa
Three Short Tales from Malawi — Malawi
Sun, Wind and Cloud — East Africa
The Fisherman and the Ring — Malawi
The Proud Horse — Sudan
The Wise Old Father — Zambia
Tortoise and Baboon Match Tricks — West Africa
Lord of the Jungle — Nigeria
Mr Leopard and Little Goat — Mali
Tako the Tortoise and Guye the Hornbill — Ghana
How Hare Got His Split Lip — South Africa
The Quarrel —East Africa
The Wicked Leopardess and the Clever Sheep — Nigeria
God’s Hat — West Africa
How the Friendship Between Hawk and Fowl Ended — Ghana
The White Bird — South Africa
The Seven Bridegrooms — Malawi
The Children’s Fund of Malawi


'An enchanting set of stories and all for a good cause too. There are riddles to puzzle over, animals to discover and morals to learn. Tales from African Dreamtime is illustrated with vibrant colour paintings and the stories are fun to read either in a group or alone.'
-- Creative Steps Magazine, May/June 2009

'This vibrant collection of African folktales should have a place on every library shelf … The lively style is perfect for reading aloud, and the stories and fables give a strong sense of the traditions and moral values of African society. The illustrator has captured the essence of the tales in her glowing, beautiful pictures.'
-- Jayne Gould, The School Librarian

'Perfect for telling aloud … Magdalene Sacranie's writing reflects her deep love of African culture and uses a lively, engaging style. The stories are evocatively illustrated by Sarah Bramley. Each tale is thought-provoking, often with a moral or a riddle. Children will enjoy talking about the whys and wherefores of these ancient tales while engaging with a refreshingly vibrant picture of the African continent.'
-- Mel Tibbs, Juno Magazine

A beautifully produced book with a conversational style that evokes the oral tradition of stories shared around a fire, and illustrations that stay in the mind long after the book Is closed.
-- Yvone Coppard, Caroused issue 43


Magdalene Sacranie first visited Malawi as a physiotherapist with VSO in 1969. There she met her husband, and became captivated by the warmth of the people and their rich cultural heritage. In 2005 she started fundraising for the Children's Fund of Malawi.

Alexander McCall Smith is the bestselling author of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series of books, set in Botswana.


Love folk and fairy tales? Don't miss this brilliant anthology, stunningly illustrated:
An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper

Download or print a free Teacher's Guide for this book:
Tales from African Dreamtime Teacher's Guide (PDF; 51KB)

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