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The Wise Fool Hardcover – August 1, 2011
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Twenty-two short, entertaining and instructive tales, selected from many told about Mulla Nasruddin, introduce this wise fool known across the Islamic world from the Middle East to western China. Known also as Khoja (or a variant of that respectful title), Nasruddin is sometimes judge, sometimes trickster and sometimes figure of fun who may once have been real, a 13th-century Turkish mystic. He s here brought to a Western audience by an author who remembers these tales from her childhood in India and Pakistan and an illustrator whose collage work recalls the colors, patterns and perspectives of Persian and Indian miniatures. The stories are short, most no more than a page or two; the morals are unstated. They re set on full-bleed double-page spreads or opposite framed pictures in vibrant colors blues, reds, yellow-golds and greens. Among the geometrical designs and patterns, flat perspectives and frames from which some details escape, Mulla is easily recognizable with his beard, hooked nose and turban. Readers and storytellers looking for a particular one will find this compilation easy to use, with its numbered pages and a table of contents. This handsome retelling concludes with a glossary and list of the author s sources. Most of these tales will be unfamiliar to American children, making this most welcome, as well as necessary for any folklore collection. --Kirkus Reviews
Mulla Nasruddin, a legendary 13th-century character based on a traveling Sufi and the hero of beloved stories in Asia, Africa, and Europe, plays different roles in each of these 22 brief Islamic tales: that of a judicious moderator, a shrewd negotiator, a trickster, and an everyman (he argues with his wife in one story and, in another, tells a white lie to avoid loaning his donkey to a freeloader). Husain s accessible and lively prose delivers satisfying morals that are rarely predictable; for example, when the Mulla concocts an inventive story to keep his pupils from eating his baklava and returns to find the plate empty, he praises a pupil who tells a tall tale of his own. Rendered in vibrant golds, greens, and blues, Archer s collages, created from a variety of papers and homemade stamps, seamlessly intermesh with the spirited vignettes. --Publishers Weekly
Great storytelling for kids of all ages, this Islamic folklore collection focuses on Mulla Nasruddin, who is
funny and wise, silly and grumpy, the conscience of his community but never self-important. Husain heard
these stories as a child growing up in India and Pakistan, and they are still told today. The pictures in
gouache, watercolor, pen and ink, and collage many of which have a stained-glass appeal will have
kids looking closely at the intricate details that show the surprising, sometimes hilarious turnabouts. --Booklist
About the Author
Shahrukh Husain writes for both adults and children and is the author of The Barefoot Book of Stories from the Opera. When she is not writing, Shahrukh practices as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, specializing in transcultural work. Born in Pakistan, Shahrukh now lives in London, England with her husband.
Micha Archer has always loved the way words and pictures go together. Her illustrations are created using gouache, watercolor, pen and ink, and collage. She is influenced by her travels in West Africa, Mexico and Central America and the folk arts and crafts she saw there. Micha lives in Massachusetts with her family.
Top customer reviews
"'What's the matter, Mulla?' he asked. `All is well, I hope?'
`Why shouldn't all be well?' snapped the Mulla, hurrying down the road. He knew very well that his nosy neighbor was not interested in his welfare, but wanted a bit of gossip."