From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4–Nasrettin Hoca was a renowned 13th-century Turkish philosopher respected for his wisdom, common sense, and humor, elements that are found in the many folktales about him. This story describes how he stopped to assist in the capture of a wayward goat and soiled his already patched coat in the process. He had no time to change before he headed off to a banquet at a rich friend's house, and everyone there avoided him because he was both shabby and smelly. Nasrettin went home, bathed, and dressed in a splendiferous outfit. He returned to the banquet and was greeted warmly. To everyone's astonishment, he proceeded to stuff food into his coat. When questioned, he replied that it was obvious that it was the coat that had been invited, not him. Demi's retelling of this tale is compelling and includes many details that help bring both time and place into focus. Her paint-and-ink illustrations are resplendent with her trademark gold leaf and intricate borders. However, Nasrettin's allegedly shabby coat is the same jewel-toned red as the finer one he later dons, and as the pictures are so small, it's easy to mistake the patches for daubs of gold. Although this minor problem lessens the effect of his transformation, this is still a well-told, visually enticing tale and a first purchase for most libraries. An informative afterword is included.–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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K-Gr. 3. Delayed by an escaped goat, the Turkish folk hero Nasrettin Hoca attends a friend's banquet clad in a filthy, tattered coat. The host is embarrassed, the guests shun him, and no one serves him food. Nasrettin goes home home, bathes and dresses in his finest clothes, and returns to the banquet, where he stuffs food and wine into his coat. Asked why he feeds his coat, Nasrettin notes his earlier appearance and explains, "This shows it was the coat and not me that you invited to your banquet." An afterword adds background on Hodja folklore but does not cite a source. The well-paced retelling retains the sly, wise humor of traditional Nasrettin tales. Inspired by Turkish art, Demi places miniature figures in frames filled with geometric patterns. It is difficult to distinguish the patches in Nasrettin's shabby coat, but the handsomely dressed Nasrettin stands tall on the only unframed page. An excellent choice for multicultural studies, this wry moral tale transcends time and culture. Linda PerkinsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved