Storytelling Celebrated as Life-giving Force

Posted by on Mar 28, 2016 in Reviews | 0 comments


The art of storytelling is celebrated as a life-giving force in this enthralling picture book set in Morocco.

A nameless, thirsty boy meets a storyteller and is drawn to return day after day to listen to intricately linked stories and to learn the older man’s art. The stories bring not only sustenance to the boy’s inner life, but water to his lips, for in this world, storytelling and water are symbolically connected. Stories will ward off the great drought if the Sahara encroaches on the cities, but only if young people keep the tradition alive. And so, in the manner of Scheherazade, the stories unfold, and the protagonist retells the story of the boy who saved the city from the sandstorm that arrived as a large djinn by telling him a story, day by day. With the stories embodying sharing, creativity, and hope, the life force of cool blue water appears in the illustrations, the antithesis of the destructive brown sand. Beautiful swirls of blue dominate many of the intricately bordered double-page spreads, fighting against the tans and browns of the djinn and the sands he represents. Each spread takes on a life of its own, sometimes highly geometric, other times full of swiftly crayon-drawn individuals, and still others with heavily inked and outlined figures.

Original storytelling with the feel of the best folklore, enhanced by illustrations done in a style not seen anyplace else. Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review star

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