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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.


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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