The Flying Tortoise

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The Flying Tortoise: An Igbo Tale

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Thank you! Because he is so handsome, the greedy tortoise feels he can demand the biggest share of everything, especially food. When the birds are invited to a feast in Skyland, Mbeku is determined to go with them. But tortoises, even clever ones, cannot fly. Mbeku convinces the birds to help him and soon he has magnificent wings of his own. This doesn't teach self-respect. The birds get fooled by Mbeku twice and decide to seek revenge. They carry out their plan of vengeance successfully and celebrate with laughter.

This teaches that seeking revenge is the right thing to do and will make you happy. The turtle Mbeku tricked the birds into making him wings so he can fly with them to visit the Skylanders up in the sky. He pronounced himself as king and made sure he was the only one who ate the food at the feast. The birds retaliate by throwing his wings off the cliff.

Therefore, Mbeku can not fly back down to earth.


Mbeku tricked them into thinking he was sincerely sorry and asked them to tell Ngwele to make a soft landing for him so he can return to earth. After finding out he was tricking them again, they sought revenge a second time by telling Ngwele to "gather all the hardest things you can find and build a huge pile in the clearing". Mbeku ends up landing in the hard pile and his shell shattered into a million pieces. The birds are proud of tricking Mbeku, which is a terrible message to share with children.

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The book needs a positive message to share but it doesn't contain one. The big message of the story is to seek revenge every time someone does something wrong against you. The book started off with a good storyline, but it needs a stronger resolution and ending. GinaBayne Oct 6, This story of how a turtle's shell came to look the way that it did was nicely illustrated, though I have to say that I'm not that big a fan of the turtle.

He kind of played the villain that never got his comeuppance. Meanwhile, his friend, the lizard, never got any kind of appreciation and yet he stayed the nasty turtle's friend through it all. I would have preferred the lizard to turn his back on the turtle after all the grief that the turtle put him through, but I guess sometimes you have to roll with the punches.

Still, it illustrates another cultures folk tales and that is always an enriching experience.