ARAB FAIRY TALE FEASTS

A LITERARY COOKBOOK

An engaging literary cookbook that is a feast for the eyes, the heart, and the palate.

This charming third installment in the Fairy Tale Feasts Collection turns to the Middle East and North Africa.

In Marrakesh, Morocco, a young girl gets caught stealing apricots from a garden and wittily explains her way out of the situation. In Cairo, Egypt, a mean miser loses his hoard of money in a swift blow of poetic justice. A pourquoi story set near the Sahara Desert explains why chickens and ostriches cannot fly. This is just a sampling of the 14 original morality tales (not fairy tales, as the book’s title misleadingly promises) gathered here. The structure of the fables—a moral is stated at the end of each one—will feel familiar to both Arab and non-Arab readers. Each story incorporates alimentary motifs and themes and is followed by a complementary recipe from the Arab world; budding cooks will feel inspired to try making mehallabeyat qamaruddin, shish taouk, shorbit adas, and more. English translations of the names of the dishes are provided. The recipes—most of which require easily obtainable ingredients—are uncomplicated, with notes on substitutions and optional add-ins. With the inclusion of backmatter notes covering Arabic literary traditions, origins of the Arabic words used throughout the book, and bits of culinary history, there is much to be learned, even for readers familiar with Arab culture. Both stories and recipes are enhanced with folk art–style illustrations that add a traditional feel, but the dishes aren’t always portrayed accurately in the artwork.

An engaging literary cookbook that is a feast for the eyes, the heart, and the palate. (Fables/cookbook. 8-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62371-908-1

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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WONDER

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

I JUST WANT TO SAY GOOD NIGHT

If Black Lives Matter, they deserve more specificity than this.

A lushly illustrated picture book with a troubling message.

Little Lala walks with her father after his successful day of fishing. When Mama calls her home for bed, a host of “good night”s delays her: to the bird, the monkey, and even the rock. As Lala wanders through her village in the darkening twilight, readers appreciate its expansive beauty and Lala’s simple joys. Although it’s been artfully written and richly illustrated by an award-winning author of many multicultural stories, this book has problems that overshadow its beauty. “African veld” sets the story in southern Africa, but its vague locale encourages Americans to think that distinctions among African countries don’t matter. Lala wears braids or locks that stick straight up, recalling the 19th-century pickaninny, and her inconsistent skin color ranges from deep ebony like her father’s to light brown. Shadows may cause some of these differences, but if it weren’t for her identifiable hair, readers might wonder if the same child wanders from page to page. Perhaps most striking of all is Lala’s bedtime story: not an African tale but an American classic. While this might evoke nostalgia in some readers, it also suggests that southern Africa has no comparably great bedtime books for Lala, perhaps in part because American children’s literature dominates the world market.

If Black Lives Matter, they deserve more specificity than this. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-17384-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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