The Wise Fool: Fables from the Islamic World
The riotous adventures and misadventures of Mulla Nasruddin introduce a new generation to one of the most-loved characters in the Muslim world. Nasruddin always has a twinkle in his eye, a sliver of wisdom in his ramblings, and a few good surprises up his sleeve!
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. --Kirkus Reviews
Mulla Nasruddin, a legendary 13th-century character based on a traveling Sufi and the hero of beloved stories in Asia, Africa, and Europe, plays different roles in each of these 22 brief Islamic tales: that of a judicious moderator, a shrewd negotiator, a trickster, and an everyman (he argues with his wife in one story and, in another, tells a white lie to avoid loaning his donkey to a freeloader). Husain's accessible and lively prose delivers satisfying morals that are rarely predictable; for example, when the Mulla concocts an inventive story to keep his pupils from eating his baklava and returns to find the plate empty, he praises a pupil who tells a tall tale of his own. Rendered in vibrant golds, greens, and blues, Archer's collages, created from a variety of papers and homemade stamps, seamlessly intermesh with the spirited vignettes. --Publishers Weekly
Great storytelling for kids of all ages, this Islamic folklore collection focuses on Mulla Nasruddin, who is funny and wise, silly and grumpy, the conscience of his community but never self-important. Husain heard these stories as a child growing up in India and Pakistan, and they are still told today. The pictures in gouache, watercolor, pen and ink, and collage many of which have a stained-glass appeal will have kids looking closely at the intricate details that show the surprising, sometimes hilarious turnabouts. --Booklist --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
Number of Pages: 64
Publisher: Barefoot Books
Author: Shahrukh Hussain
Dimensions: 11.1 x 9.2 x 0.4 inches
KitaabWorld Book Review: As we mentioned, folk tales showcase the rubric of a society. This book is a great introduction to Mulla Nasruddin, a legendary character whose adventures and misadventures are enjoyed across the Islamic World. Eccentric, engaging and irreverent, Nasruddin always has a twinkle in his eye, a sliver of wisdom in his ramblings and a few good surprises up his sleeve. Also available as a fun picture book for the young ones and a chapter book. Read our interview with Shakrukh Hussain here.
This book is also part of our FOLKTALES FROM ISLAMIC TRADITIONS book list.