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Literature / Pinduli

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Pinduli is a short children's picture book by Janell Cannon. It was published in 2004.

The book begins with a young striped hyena named Pinduli waking up one warm afternoon. She decides to go explore the local water-hole by herself. While at the waterhole, Pinduli ends up bullied for her appearance. Suddenly self-conscious, Pinduli decides to cover herself in dust to hide her stripes and fringe. The other animals mistake her for a ghost. Pinduli, under the guise of being a spirit, makes the animals give her offerings and tells them to make amends with their bullies. Afterwards, Pinduli returns home with food for her and her mother.

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Cannon has also written Stellaluna, a similar picture book about a bat, and and Verdi, about a snake.


Pinduli contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: That you shouldn't bully others and that you should take pride in the way you look.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The last four pages contain hyena and animal facts.
  • Animal Religion: At the very least, animals know what ghosts are. The animals also make reference to "the Great Spirit".
  • Artistic License – Biology: Pinduli seems to be an only child. This is unlikely unless she's the Sole Survivor of her litter.
  • The Bully:
    • The dogs tease Pinduli for her big ears, the lion for her fringe, and the zebra for her stripes.
    • As it turns out, the animals were teased for their looks in the past. Dog was called "Butterfly Head" by a Fennec Fox, Lion's mane was called mangy by a vulture, and Zebra was told by an owl that her stripes were garish. Their bullies were also bullied.
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  • Carnivore Confusion: Averted. No one is depicted eating each other, however Pinduli clearly sees Lion as a threat and the ending pages depict a brown hyena stealing an ostrich egg.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": With the exception of Pinduli, the animals are referred to by their species names.
  • Free-Range Children: Mama Hyena tells Pinduli to stay close by, however she does end up trotting a far sum away.
  • Freudian Excuse: The animals are bullies because they were once bullied too.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: A serval, Marabou vulture, adder, African eagle owl, and African wild dog appear as characters. The book also contains scraggly-maned Tsavo lions, rather than the more common full-maned ones. The "Meet the Hyena Family" page depicts striped hyenas, brown hyenas, and aardwolves.
  • Unnamed Parent: Pinduli's mother is just called "Mama Hyena" or "Mama".
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