Twenty-two short, entertaining and instructive tales, selected from many told about Mulla Nasruddin, introduce this wise fool known across the Islamic world from the Middle East to western China.
Known also as Khoja (or a variant of that respectful title), Nasruddin is sometimes judge, sometimes trickster and sometimes figure of fun who may once have been real, a 13th-century Turkish mystic. He’s here brought to a Western audience by an author who remembers these tales from her childhood in India and Pakistan and an illustrator whose collage work recalls the colors, patterns and perspectives of Persian and Indian miniatures. The stories are short, most no more than a page or two; the morals are unstated. They’re set on full-bleed double-page spreads or opposite framed pictures in vibrant colors—blues, reds, yellow-golds and greens. Among the geometrical designs and patterns, flat perspectives and frames from which some details escape, Mulla is easily recognizable with his beard, hooked nose and turban. Readers and storytellers looking for a particular one will find this compilation easy to use, with its numbered pages and a table of contents. This handsome retelling concludes with a glossary and list of the author’s sources.
Most of these tales will be unfamiliar to American children, making this most welcome, as well as necessary for any folklore collection. (Folklore. 7 & up)