Mulla Nasruddin is a foolish man who is also known to be very clever sometimes.
Taylor and the U.K.’s Khayaal Theatre invite readers to meet the Middle Eastern Muslim folk character Nasruddin, also revealing that he is known by other names and plays many roles. In these 21 short tales, he appears as a husband, a neighbor, an imam, a young student, and more. One tale reveals an amusing, clever young Nasruddin falling asleep in class and failing to complete the assignment, a picture. When he shows his teacher a blank paper, he says, “I drew a donkey eating grass,” claiming the grass was eaten by the donkey and “There was no more grass….So the donkey left!” In another, Nasruddin climbs into the bed of a robber who broke into his house and stole his furniture: “I thought we were moving to your house,” he says blandly. Readers learn: why, when begging, Nasruddin takes a silver coin rather than a gold one and why, as an imam, he leaves the mosque without giving a sermon. In Adl’s illustrations, Nasruddin has a long white cottony beard and wears a turban. Her use of electric-bright colors (orange, green, yellow, blue) exemplifies Nasruddin’s eccentricity, while photocollaged textures add further interest. A short glossary is included, but sources are not.
These tales, full of jokes and wisdom, demonstrate why the wise fool is a perennially appealing character. (Folktales. 7-10)