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Joha Makes a Wish: A Middle Eastern Tale Hardcover – March 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1–3—Joha's wishes go awry, thanks to improper use of a magic stick he accidentally finds while walking to Baghdad. Kimmel recasts a Jewish tale from Yemen, borrowing story elements from widespread Middle Eastern folklore featuring the foolish wise man, aka Nasreddin Hodja. Kimmel's introductory note doesn't explain his choice of the lesser-known name "Joha" for the character. Perhaps he's melding the Arabic Juha and the Egyptian Goha for his own spin on the affable trickster. The story here is much more fully developed than the usually small Hodja/Goha episodes. In spite of Joha's angry efforts to rid himself of the troublesome stick, it tightly adheres to his hand, causing much worse trouble when he encounters the sultan in the streets of Baghdad. Kimmel's well-paced text smoothly builds events and dialogue, leaving the character interpretation to the comic portrayals in Rayyan's energetic watercolors. Joha is a small man with large hands and feet and a long, thin expressive face beneath a generous turban. His frayed sandals and patched trousers contrast with the splendor of the robust sultan and his armored guards. Joha's misadventures and the trouble he causes the sultan depart liberally from their folklore and cultural roots but offer an enjoyable escapade demonstrating that universal scheme of the unwitting little guy getting the better of those in power. The wishing scheme and fulsome pictures promise read-aloud fun.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
About the Author
Eric A. Kimmel lives in Portland, Oregon.
Top customer reviews
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I cannot say enough how much I love this book! Master-storyteller Eric Kimmel does it again!
On his way to Bagdad, Joha finds a stick. It's not just any stick he finds, but a wishing stick! And you just know things are not going to be so easy for Joha. He wishes for a pair of red leather slippers, and his old worn out sandals disappear! That evil stick! He wishes for the stick to disappear, and it sticks to his hand! Just then, the sultan's guards trot past. Joha hurries to get out of their way. Without thinking, he mutters a wish for a donkey to carry him. Don't you know it: now he has to carry a donkey all the way to Bagdad!
That wishing stick brings poor Joha nothing but trouble. It seems there's a secret to using the wishing stick. Will Joha learn its secrets before the really big trouble begins? Will Joha ever find his way out of so much trouble?
The watercolor illustrations by Omar Rayyan, breathes life and charm into this endearing character.
According to the author's note, this original tale is inspired by Joha the wise fool found in stories throughout Turkey, Iran and central Asia. This is a delightful read aloud for every library!
The story is very well-told and the illustrations are exceptional. Don't miss the expression on the donkey when guard loads him on Joha's back -- or Joha's expression when the sultan appropriates the wishing stick.
Altogether a delightful book