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Ali and the Magic Stew Hardcover – March 1, 2002

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Based on the version collected and published by the 17th-century author Charles Perrault, this classic fairy tale is matched with the artwork of Nicoletta Ceccoli. Perrault's Cinderella echoes the elegance and luxury of the French court of King Louis XIV. See more books by Sarah L. Thomson and Nicoletta Ceccoli

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A healing stew that can only cure if its ingredients have been bought with money begged from passersby simmers at the center of Oppenheim's (The Hundredth Name) uplifting tale. Ali ibn Ali, the spoiled son of a rich merchant, scoffs at the beggar outside their palace gates and asks why his parents allow him to sit there. "A true Muslim gives to the poor, the crippled, the homeless, the hungry. That beggar is all of these," replies his mother, "a woman of great beauty and even greater kindness." When Ali's beloved father falls ill after a business trip, he requests shula kalambar, a stew. The beggar at the gate tells Ali that he must beg for the money to buy the stew's components. The boy swallows his pride and dons the beggar's ragged cloak to help his father, enduring jeers and catcalls until he completes his mission. His father is healed, and Ali, full of new humility, approaches the beggar he once despised to thank him. Pels (Spectacles) characterizes the beggar as profoundly serene, sitting in a Zen-like posture, thus creating a mystical presence for this spiritual guide. Multilayered tableaux incorporate computer-altered images of kilims, copper vessels and exotic fabrics; the jewels on the family appear to glisten. Oppenheim's text moves right along, and delivers an ageless moral. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grades 2-4--Ali ibn Ali is a selfish little rich boy, languid and spoiled, who loves only his parents and his pet monkey. The beggar who sits at their front gate day after day annoys him, and the child is frustrated that his persistent requests to have the old man removed meet with softly worded refusals from his parents. They, in fact, regard the beggar as a blessing. Indeed, he becomes just that for Ali when his father is taken ill and only a particular stew, shula kalambar, can save him. As he goes to get the necessary ingredients, he trips over the beggar who, to his surprise, tells him that he must disguise himself and beg for what he needs, if his father is to live. Unwillingly, the boy does so, and, in the process, not only saves his beloved father, but changes his own life as well. The fluid prose manages, just barely, to escape the didactic, and the point is, if not hammered home, at least knocked sharply into place. Nonetheless, and despite considerable predictability, Ali's situation does evoke sympathy; and there is enough tension in the narrative line to hold readers. Pels's lush, stylized full-page illustrations are indeed reminiscent of Persian miniatures in their depth of color and attention to detail. Just a bit too long for reading aloud, this book may well be picked up on the basis of its pictorial strength and stuck with for the ultimately involving story.
Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press; 1 edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563978695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563978692
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,127,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By McKinalews on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was given as an accompaniment to a very special magic carpet! It never really caught the attention
of the child receiving it.
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