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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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?Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
McCaughrean has won awards for her skill at retelling ancient folk tales, and this collection by her is no exception. Read morePublished 28 days ago by HH
I've been enjoying reading mythology and folktales from a variety of cultures recently. This collection of stories was fantastic and generally hewed more closely to traditional... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Austin Vogt
I truly enjoyed this. I'm certain through the years I have read a version or two but like the "light" reading now and again.Published 6 months ago by Sue Y.
Reading this book is a pleasure, I'm just about done with it, but it's a good read, classic stories, and a few good laughs in between. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Luke