ALI AND THE MAGIC STEW

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)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56397-869-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2002

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THE BOY WHO LOVED WORDS

A charmingly prolix tall tale of a boy so word-obsessed that he collects new words on slips of paper. They bulge from his pockets, float around his head and fill his world. Classmates nickname Selig “Wordsworth” and give him a word for his collection: “oddball.” The discovery that his purpose in life is to share his carefully chosen words with others leads to success and love. And, “if, one day, . . . the perfect word just seems to come to you . . . you’ll know that Selig is near.” Schotter’s words are enlivened by Potter’s distinctively naïve figures, all placed in settings in which words and labels are scattered about in a way that invites close inspection and promotes purposeful inquiry. It all adds up to an *exultant encounter, chockablock with tintinnabulating gusto (*see tantalizing glossary appended). A gift to precocious children and teachers as well. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2006

ISBN: 0-375-83601-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches...

TRASHY TOWN

Listeners will quickly take up the percussive chorus—“Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy town! Is the trash truck full yet? NO”—as they follow burly Mr. Gilly, the garbage collector, on his rounds from park to pizza parlor and beyond.

Flinging cans and baskets around with ease, Mr. Gilly dances happily through streetscapes depicted with loud colors and large, blocky shapes; after a climactic visit to the dump, he roars home for a sudsy bath.

Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches Eve Merriam’s Bam Bam Bam (1995), also illustrated by Yaccarino, for sheer verbal and visual volume. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027139-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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