HOW THE FISHERMAN TRICKED THE GENIE: A Tale Within a Tale Within a Tale

Kitoba Sunami, Author, Amiko Hirao, Illustrator , illus. by Amiko Hirao. S&S/Atheneum $16 (40p) ISBN 978-0-689-83399-1

This first-time team offers a dramatic retelling of stories from the Thousand and One Nights, super-saturated with life and color by illustrator Hirao. A dark-skinned fisherman in a bleached white robe casts his nets and finds a bottle. From it he releases a genie, whose gargantuan proportions Hirao emphasizes with a perspective that places readers at the blue-hued specter's knee. When, far from granting him wishes, the genie threatens to kill him, the fisherman warns him that evil will be repaid with evil, and—in the Arabian Nights tradition—illustrates his warning by telling him a story. In the story, Dhuban, a curious little stranger, saves a king's life and warns him not to forget the favor, illustrating his warning with still another story. The king disregards the fable, kills Dhuban, and discovers—too late—that evil is indeed repaid in kind. The fisherman, meanwhile, realizing that his story made no impression on the genie, outwits him. Elegantly designed and economically narrated, the volume showcases each tale in a unique font, and the lush backgrounds and exotically applied pastels unite the interrelated themes (especially the power of "Heaven and fate"). Odd angles and exaggerated perspectives add cinematic momentum to the spreads. Hirao's broad sweeps of shimmering blues and oranges vibrate against each other as intensely as the horror and humor in the stories themselves. An old classic made entirely contemporary. Ages 5-9. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 05/27/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X