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This view of the Hodja as a child offers a different pathway into the popular stories.

The beloved character of Nasreddin Hodja is usually portrayed as a man in Turkish and Middle Eastern folklore, but here, the wise fool is a youngster.

This story presents a series of scenarios in which Nasreddine changes his behavior after hearing judgments uttered by various onlookers. Nasreddine tries to help his father get their products to market on their donkey, but a vizier sees him following the donkey and insults them by saying that Mustafa should allow the boy to ride the donkey. When they change places on their next ride into town, old women decry the boy’s selfish behavior. When Nasreddine decides that they should both ride, old men drinking frozen lemonade (what century is this?) are concerned about the animal. Children laugh at them when they allow the donkey to carry only watermelons while father and son both walk. With Mustafa’s gentle teaching, the boy realizes that he alone must judge the validity of other people’s criticisms. A little slower and more didactic than most Hodja stories, this may suffer from a stiff translation from the French original. The handsome watercolors, blending a timeless Turkish landscape with more contemporary-looking signs, exaggerate the difference between the tall, proud Mustafa and the tiny, embarrassed Nasreddine.

This view of the Hodja as a child offers a different pathway into the popular stories. (historical  note) (Picture book/folk tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5416-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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From the Elephant & Piggie series

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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A spellbinding tale that will never brown or fade with time.

Soup is always the correct solution.

Evergreen, a young squirrel who lives high in a tree in Buckthorn Forest, is afraid of most things, but top of the list is thunderstorms. When her mother, who makes magical soup, asks her to take an acorn full of soup to Granny Oak, who is ill with the flu, Evergreen is afraid that she won’t be brave enough to do it. But she knows she must—and that she must be careful not to spill a drop, as “Granny Oak will need every bit of it to get better.” Setting off, the scared squirrel encounters a menagerie of adventures and forest creatures in her journey. It’s a wild, imaginative read and one that twists and turns like a forest path, with unexpected surprises along the way. Cordell is a masterful storyteller, and readers will love following Evergreen’s journey as she grows into a more confident squirrel. The artwork is the real star of the show, however; there’s a hint of Sendak in the characters’ humorous expressions and in the timeless pen-and-watercolor backgrounds that cry out to be examined in detail. Educators and caregivers will love reading this story aloud in installments, and readers will adore seeing what Evergreen encounters in her travels. A hint of future stories will tantalize readers, who will close the book eager for a new volume to devour.

A spellbinding tale that will never brown or fade with time. (Early chapter book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-31717-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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