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One Thousand and One Arabian Nights (Oxford Story Collections) Paperback – January 6, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"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 the Printz Award-winning author of The White Darkness. She has been honored with England's most prestigious children's book award, the Carnegie Medal, and is the only three-time winner ever of the Whitbread Children's Book Award. She also wrote Peter Pan in Scarlet, the first official sequel to the treasured masterpiece Peter Pan, and the critically acclaimed The Death-Defying Pepper Roux. Geraldine lives in Berkshire, England, with her husband and actress daughter.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 8
  • Series: Oxford Story Collections
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 6, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192750135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192750136
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.7 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As the teacher of an elementary school program for gifted and talented children, I wanted to introduce my fourth-grade students to the wonderful tales of the Arabian Nights that I so enjoyed myself as a child. I scanned virtually every translation I could find and found strong reasons not to select any of them--the language was old-fashioned and stilted, making the wonderful tales dreary to read. Then I came across this translation and knew I had found what I was looking for. The author writes in a clear, accessible style that truly brings these wonderful tales to life for a modern audience. The enthusiasm my students show for these stories demonstrates McCaughrean's skill as an author. I highly recommend this book for both children and adults.
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This is one of the best versions of these stories in my opinion, and is particularly suitable for older children who are ready to move beyond simple children's stories. The stories are only a bit "straightened up" for contemporay audiences, but they retain the language and the fanatastic elements that people turn to these Tales to enjoy. The stories also retain some of the violent and cruel plots twists of the original, another reason you may not want to use these as bedtime stories for little children.
All the major Arabian Nights stories and most of the minor ones are included; and the "frame story" of the Shah and his clever wife is carried throughout the book very nicely. Each story told by Shahrezade serves a secondary purpose of advancing the tale of the royal couple's evolving relationship, and so the ending is more truly satisfying than in any other version of the Arabian Nights.
The illustrations in 1996 edition by Stephan Lavis are good as well, and add to the storyland feeling of the tales. (The only quibble I have hear is with the white European look of most of the characters in the drawings.) I don't know about the pictures in the latest edition.
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Words cannot describe the fantastic quality of this collection of Arabic literature. But don't get the book just to read the tale of Ala al-Din (Aladdin) and his Wonderful Lamp, because the other tales included surpass this merely moderate one by far - although it's interesting to find out that a black midget is Aladdin's primary nemesis (upon who Disney's Jafar is based, apparently).

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?
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My wife and I were looking for a collection of the Arabian Nights stories that was authentic, yet also family friendly, since we intended them as bedtime stories for our children. This book gave us exactly what we were looking for. The stories have the feel of the Middle East and contain region and culture appropriate analogies that will be foreign to most. However, the stories were wonderfully devoid of the violence and sexual content that is contained in so many versions of these collections.
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I have been searching for a decent copy of Arabian Nights for years. I originally bought the really nice, leather-bound, 3 volume collection....big mistake. Most 1001 Nights are translated by Richard Burton, whom you should stay away from at all costs. Although his translation is more accurate, it is HARD to read. It's written in old English with 10-line sentences.

That being said, this translation is much more enjoyable to read. Although it does not have every tale, it has all the major stories you are looking for including: Aladdin, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, and Sinbad. This is for younger readers so certain points of the original were left out. For instance, the desire for the slave-girl Jesmin (in Aladdin) was romanticized a bit. Nonetheless, it is far more pleasurable to read than any version I came across. I suppose it's as child friendly as a story about a man murdering every woman in the world after he has sex with them can be.
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