Books by Kitoba Sunami

Released: Aug. 1, 2002

A twist on the traditional folkloric motif goes on too long and loses its way and its audience. The rather violent tale set on the Arabian Sea begins with an unnamed fisherman pulling a genie's bottle from the water. Instead of granting him three wishes, the genie, enraged by his long wait, announces that he will kill the man instead. The fisherman replies that repaying kindness with evil will bring down the punishments of Heaven and Fate, and launches into a story to explain. That story, of a healer who cures a king but makes him look foolish in the process, is set off from the first by a different text font, but not by any variance in illustration. The vibrant pastels, while interesting in their own right, consistently fail to capture the characters, who all look the same except for the purple genie. When the king threatens to kill the healer, the healer launches into his own story, of a prince who kills his faithful hunting dog when he feels that the dog has spoiled his sport. The king, however, does not listen to the healer, but kills him, too (dying by poison in the process), which brings us back to the original fisherman and the genie. "That," says the fisherman, "is the story of how evil follows evil." Unfortunately, none of the depressing stories has anything to do with the genie, who bellows in ALL CAPS some fairly standard threats until the fisherman tricks him into returning to his bottle. Better trickster stories and better genie stories abound. Text-heavy and without magic, this one can be passed by. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >