Bright-eyed beneath a huge, floppy turban, an ever optimistic merchant sets out again and again on rocky roads to riches in this lighthearted version of the classic Arabian Nights adventures, from two Iranian expats.
Forgetting with comical regularity the disasters of each previous voyage, Sinbad repeatedly sets out from Basra with companies of fellow merchants on sea voyages. These invariably end in shipwreck and go on, through encounters with rocs, giant fish, cannibals, and such hazardous customs as the practice of burying living husbands with their dead wives, to conclude in miraculous restorations of luck and fortune. Though he relegates mention of Scheherazade to an introduction, Said links his first-person renditions with the secondary frame story common in traditional versions. Similarly, though the figures in her vignettes and wide-bordered full-page illustrations sport cartoonishly exaggerated garb and expressions, Rashin incorporates simplified but evocative Persian and other Middle Eastern stylistic motifs. Some pictures part company in major ways with the narrative, though, and less-than-proficient readers may find Said’s formal prose—“There is no protection and no power besides that of God the Almighty! But as often as God is merciful to me and frees me from one perilous situation, I plunge myself into another”—a bit of a slog.
Ageless yarn-spinning, if not quite so laced with thrilling melodrama as John Yeoman and Quentin Blake’s rendition (1997). (Folk tales. 10-13)