cover image The Tale of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp: A Story

The Tale of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp: A Story

Eric A. Kimmel, Arabian Nights. Holiday House, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0938-9

Since lazy Aladdin and his widowed mother are struggling to get by on his mother's meager earnings, a mysterious magician's promises of wealth fascinate the boy. He must rely on his wits, however, when the dark stranger tries to trick Aladdin into retrieving a magic lamp from an underground temple. Discovering the lamp's powers--its resident wish-granting djinn--Aladdin sets himself up in a comfortable new life, enjoying riches and a wife after foiling the magician's revenge. The power of wishing something so is addictive, but these protagonists, refraining from excessive greed, never lose sight of their human capabilities--a subtle lesson in the virtue of restraint. The story's histrionic plot twists offer excitement aplenty, while Kimmel's understated tone and traditional turns of phrase never decelerate the pace. Chen's artwork, a stylistic departure, features a heavy application of earthy hues--brush and knife strokes are visible throughout. Unfortunately, the tones often blend together, and the resultant muddiness makes some scenes difficult to decipher. An absorbing though ultimately uneven outing. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)