Master Man By Aaron Shepard

today’s children storybook summary is

Master Man

By Aaron Shepard

Illustrated by David Wisniewski

Theme: Vanity and modesty.

Plot: Shadusa thinks he is the strongest man on earth and calls himself Master Man. But when his wife tells him one day that there is someone else stronger, Shadusa goes out to meet him, only to discover an amazing thing.

This story is an adaptation of a folk tale from the Hausa group in northern Nigeria.


Shadusa lived in a Nigerian village with his wife Shettu. He was a very strong man, more robust than anyone in that community. Because of that, he thought he was Master Man. Shettu was doubtful, telling him that there’s always someone better than ourselves, but her husband did not believe her.

One day, Shettu went to the neighboring village and stopped to drink water from a well. But she couldn’t pull up the bucket no matter how hard she tried. Just then, a woman and her child walked by, and the child quickly pulled the buck. Shettu was amazed when she found out that the child’s strength comes from the father, who was Master Man.

When Shettu got home, she told Shadusa what had happened, and her husband set out to meet and challenge the one pretending to be Master Man. When he got there, the earth trembled, and a giant came out of a pile of elephant bones. Seeing this, Shadusa took off running. He ran past five farmers who offered to help him, but they scattered away when they saw the giant. Then he met ten porters willing to defend him, but when Master Man came, they too were overcome.

At last, Shadusa ran straight into the hands of a stranger, as big and as strong as the giant. Asked why he was running, Shadusa said that Master Man was after him. The stranger replied that he was Master Man, and he will meet the other and fight him to prove his point. When the two Master Men met, they started fighting while Shedusa watched. The two giants leaped in the air fighting higher and higher until they disappeared into the clouds.

Some people say they are still fighting today, and the noise they make is called thunder.

Characters: Shadusa, a man of great physical strength, husband to shettu; Shettu, a woman of great wisdom, wife to Shadusa; a woman and her child; Master Man, the other Master Man


Done by David Wisniewski, the graphic art of this book keeps up with ethnic-specific details for portraits and landscaping. The illustration and the text are arranged and read like a graphic novel (or comic strip, except for the comic effect). Drawings are well proportioned, and the dominant color is brown, ranging from yellow to dark, with splashes of blue and green. The book is illustrated with great clarity, which is very helpful for following a folk story.

Talking points: Should we have the vanity to say we are the best?

Recommended Age: 7 and up

Reading Time: over 10 minutes

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