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One Thousand and One Arabian Nights (Oxford Story Collections) Paperback – January 6, 2000
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"McCaughrean could probably weave a mesmerizing tale from the copy on the back of a cereal box."--Publishers Weekly
"Teachers and librarians will find this version a wonderful addition to school programs focusing on world literature." -- Territorial Tattler
About the Author
Geraldine McCaughrean is a prize-winning author - winner of Carnegie Medal, Guardian Children's Fiction Award, Whitbread Award (twice) and the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award.
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I found this book to be a quick read as I was able to finish it in one day. The ever so interesting and intertwined stories kept me coming back, and there was never a point when I was un intrigued. Hearing from others who read this book, they had the same thoughts as it is an enlightening and historical adventure. I encourage everyone to read this enriching tale as it can be used for educational or pleasure reading.
If you are looking for a lighter version of the stories or want a quicker read to get an overview of the historial relevance, this version is for you. If you are wanting to read out loud, this is a nice version. If you are looking for the full force, heavy duty experience, then this is not for you. Go find Burton's multi-volume set.
The stories touch on such a wide variety of unusual topics: a man's visit to the kingdom of mermaids, a dead beggar getting tripped over again and again, a guy claiming to have several volcanoes in a portable bag, a Sultan's escape from a buffalo-faced woman in the presence of a group of pink ladies, and the marriage of a prince to a turtle. Insane stuff.
My favorite story is The Everlasting Shoes by far. It's quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever read. It's about an old miser who's so cheap he never buys new shoes. He just patches up the pair he has whenever they get holes. The addition of so many patches naturally make his shoes bigger and bigger. Eventually the shoes become ridiculously huge and heavy and smelly, and they make a lot of noise as the miser walks. The scene of the shoes being thrown into the river and getting caught in the millwork is well worth the price of the entire book.
There's a story in here that looks VERY much like a mid-east version of Cinderella. Quite interesting.
I am unable to tell how many liberties the author has taken in translating the tales, but they're definitely fun to read. There are tons of ancient day metaphors and funny insults like, "You flea on a cockroach's kneecap!" and "Son of a plank! Did you steal your brains from a table?" I really liked reading the misfortunes of the protagonist in the Keys of Destiny stories, and the nagging wives that appear sporadically are pretty darn funny.
The things I didn't like about this book were very few. Only its frequent mentioning of Allah and the puzzling weakness of its 998th and 999th stories about a flying toy horse.
I would recommend the Arabian Knights to anybody over the age of fifteen; probably because I was so surprised at the large amount of enjoyable humor.