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CLEVER ALI by Nancy Farmer


by Nancy Farmer & illustrated by Gail de Marcken

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-439-37014-0
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Ali has turned seven years old, and has taken the first step on the road to manhood: He’s learning to be a royal pigeon-keeper like his father. Every morning, Ali and his father set out through the streets of Cairo to the palace of the wicked and cruel Sultan. There, father cares for all of the Sultan’s pigeons and Ali cares for one, whom he names Othman. Father has only one rule for Ali: never to overfeed Othman or he will become spoiled and selfish. But Ali saves all of his desserts for Othman, because the pigeon loves them so. Alas, greedy Othman steals a cherry from the dreaded Sultan, and clever Ali must use all his wits to avoid being thrown into the Sultan’s demon-inhabited oubliette. De Marcken’s jewel-like watercolors adorned with Arabic calligraphy and mosaic patterns are well suited to this sweet and gently humorous tale. Though the text is lengthy for this format, it is replete with silly sound effects for a fun one-on-one read-aloud. (Picture book. 4-6)