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ALI AND THE MAGIC STEW by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim


by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim & illustrated by Winslow Pels

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-56397-869-5
Publisher: Boyds Mills

Oppenheim (Yanni Rubbish, 1999, etc.) employs familiar motifs to craft a story with the feel of a folktale. Ali ibn Ali is the much-loved but spoiled son of kind, doting parents. His haughty disregard for others, particularly the beggar at the gate of his palace, causes his mother to remark, “A true Muslim gives to the poor, the crippled, the homeless, the hungry.” When Ali’s father becomes mysteriously and gravely ill, Ali’s only hope to save him, according to the beggar, is to discard his expensive clothes, take up a beggar’s bowl, and beg for money to buy the ingredients for a stew that will heal his father. Ali finds that begging is a humiliating and humbling experience. But the advice proves correct: the magic remedy cures his father, Ali learns the healing power of kindness, and the archetypal giver of wisdom melts into the night sky. With opulent, stylized illustrations that have the flavor of the Thousand and One Nights, this tale is ultimately as satisfying as Ali’s stew. And the references to Allah may stimulate conversation. (Picture book. 5-9)