The Storyteller

Evan Turk. S&S/Atheneum, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-3518-5
Swaths of indigo swirl across detailed folk art illustrations in this intricate allegorical tale about the power of storytelling. A layered narrative featuring stories nestled within stories begins with a boy in a drought-stricken Moroccan village, where water and storytellers are scarce. Looking to quench his thirst, the boy encounters an ancient raconteur: “The man’s face cracked like dry mud to reveal a toothless grin. ‘Sit down, my boy, and your thirst shall be quenched.’ ” Various tales and their tellers are woven into the story the old man spins, with color-coordinated typefaces and borders helping readers track the different narrators. As the boy listens, his cup fills repeatedly with water, which figures prominently in the story’s climax. Turk (Grandfather Gandhi) combines primitive sketches and simple patterns to create sophisticated multimedia spreads. Fountains of blue pour from the mouths of storytellers, cementing the message that stories, like water, are life sustaining. The revelation of the final narrator brings this multifaceted tale to satisfying closure. An author’s note details the inspiration for his modern-day allegory: a real-life resurgence of the storytelling craft in one Moroccan cafe. Ages 4–8. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2016
Release date: 06/28/2016
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