Little Black Sambo
by Helen Bannerman
Narrated by: Paul Wing
The Story of Little Black Sambo is a children’s book written and illustrated by Helen Bannerman, and first published by Grant Richards in October 1899 as one in a series of small-format books called The Dumpy Books for Children.
Sambo is a South Indian boy who encounters four hungry tigers, and surrenders his colourful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella so they will not eat him. The tigers are vain and each thinks he is better dressed than the others. They chase each other around a tree until they are reduced to a pool of melted butter. Sambo then recovers his clothes and his mother makes pancakes of the butter. The story was a children’s favourite for half a century until the word sambo was deemed a racial slur in some countries, and the illustrations considered reminiscent of “darky iconography”. Both text and illustrations have undergone considerable revision since.