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Sitti and the Cats: A Tale of Friendship Paperback – October 1, 1997
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4-Unlike many European fairy tales, in which the bad guys get their just deserts, this tale reflects the Palestinian values of friendship and community, allowing the errant member to correct her ways and return to society. Encountering a fully dressed cat in need of assistance, old Sitti is rewarded for her kindness with bags of onion and garlic peels, which later turn into gold and silver. Upon learning of her neighbor's good fortune, a selfish woman goes to the cats' kingdom and rudely demands the same gifts. She receives them, but the peels turn into bees and wasps that would have stung her to death if not for Sitti's quick ministrations. Bahous's introductory remarks about her Palestinian childhood lend a warm, personal touch to the book. Insets throughout the text offer other information that, although useful, sometimes interferes with the narrative and with the superb illustrations. Malick captures the harsh contrasts of the landscape by using gray-green and purple watercolors against warm oranges and reds. Gnarled olive trees twist their way toward a scorching sun, casting mystical shadows over a place where the magic of change is always possible. The double-page spreads allow for story-time sharing, but the involved text and glossary are more appropriate for mature independent readers.
Claudia Cooper, Ft. Stockton Independent School District,
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Ages 4-8. We have very few picture books in English about the Middle East, so this version of a traditional Palestinian fairy tale will be a welcome addition to many library collections. The energetic pictures are in bright folkloristic style, and Palestinian-born Bahous has drawn on her childhood memories to create an authentic setting. The magical story tells of an old village woman, Sitti, who rescues an elegantly dressed talking kitten and is rewarded for her generosity. However, the narrative style is wordy and repetitive, and commentary nearly overwhelms the tale. The moral is explained in two introductions, and the story spells out over and over again the value of goodness and kindness, generosity and unselfishness. Boxed notes on almost every page provide interesting information about the land, language, foods, and family customs. In fact, this book may be most useful as an introduction to the culture. Hazel Rochman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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