cover image Stories from the Arabian Nights

Stories from the Arabian Nights

Naomi Lewis. Henry Holt & Company, $0 (222pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0404-5

The moon sets, and as the rooster announces another day, Shahrazad's story stops, leaving the king in anticipation of the next night's tale. The suspense lasts 1001 nights, and so the storyteller saves as many virgins from death. Lewis's reputation for sterling retellings retains its lustre with this elegantly told collection of some of those stories. She has selected both familiar ones (Sinbad and Ali Baba are here, as are Aladdin and a preview of the Cinderella story in ""The Anklet'') and lesser-known tales of princes and princesses lovelier than words can describe, who won't marry until they are seized with passionate love, tales of wise counsel and trickery and, ultimately, the story of Shahrazad's transforming love for the king that allows the storytelling to end. Pieck's exquisite paintings and silhouette decorations adorn these pages; his vision is exotic and fresh, with a distinct, velvet beauty. Ages 10-up. (September)