Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tales from the Arabian Nights: Stories of Adventure, Magic, Love, and Betrayal by Donna Jo Napoli & illustrated by Christina Balit [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2540-3
US $24.99 - Canada $32.99
This retelling of the over 1,000 stories that comprise the Arabian Nights is compressed into 25 stories.

Tales of Aladdin, of genies in lamps, flying carpets, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves make up part of the lore of India, China, Arabia, and the Far East. Author Donna Jo Napoli has selected 25 of the stories and rewritten them keeping well to those handed down through the years. The illustrations of Christina Balit are stunning blasts of vivid color and swirling imagery that stays true to real and perceived images of these fantastic fables.

Most familiar to me of the 25 in this stunning book are "Aladdin," "Sinbad the Sailor," and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves." The stories are such that older readers will enjoy an evening reading these old tales and the young children will grasp much of the excitement and hopefully not be too frightened or excited for bedtime.

Parents should keep in mind that these stories are not for the faint-of-heart. There is an ogress, scary genies (jinni), chopping off the head, etc. They are, however, old and can be beneficial for older children to read. These tales and pictures take the child to far off lands and far off times to far off stories of the ancients.

There are side bars that present varied information that lends understanding to the story, the people, the cultures.  Some of the illustrations are scary or frightful and others striking in their beauty.
"Ali Baba approached the rock. 'Open, Sesame.' The door opened. He stepped inside. Sun lit the cave through a hole in the
ceiling. The floor glittered with bales of silk, fine carpets, strange foods. And montains of gold coins. Ali Baba took two
bags of coins and put them on one of his donkeys. He covered them with wood. He said, 'Close, Sesame.' The door closed."

I don't recommend this for all homes, but for some it will be a good addition. As I said, there are scary stories and events as well as wives who are unfaithful to their husbands.  I would not read this to children younger than age 10.

About the book: A retelling of classic Arabian folk tales such as "One Thousand and One Nights," "Aladdin," "Sinbad the Sailor," and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves."

About the author: Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction. She received her BA in mathematics in 1970 and her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures in 1973, both from Harvard University, then did a postdoctoral year in Linguistics at MIT. She has since taught linguistics at Smith College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgetown University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and Swarthmore College.
Begins November 16
ENDS December 5 @ 12:05 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I reeived a complimentary copy to facilitate this review and I was not compensated nor required to render a positive review. The giveaway copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by the publicist for National Geographic.


  1. The three things I find interesting are the books "The Arabian Nights, "Fish Girl," and "Take Your Time."

  2. Loved the stuff about beavers and Mars at Web site!

  3. The illustrator has written a book about Norse mythology and a book about Egyptian mythology!

  4. As a child he would picnic regularly near ancient Near East.
    Two tutors at the Royal College of Art encouraged him to use colors.

  5. 1. Donna Jo Napoli didn't grow up wanting to be a writer.
    2. Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's fiction.
    3. She loves to garden and bake bread.

  6. 1. We really enjoy the REALLY RANDOM WEIRD BUT TRUE! FACTS and The Moment of Picture Gallery.

  7. 1. I learned that after growing up in various parts of the world – the Middle East in particular, Christina Balit came to England to study at the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art in the late 70’s.
    2. I also learned that her other published books include Michael Morpurgo’s Blodin the Beast, The Lion Illustrated Bible and Zoo in the Sky.

  8. I love that she does bilingual books , She is married to a health law, and Donna loves animals.

  9. The author writes picture,novels and children's stories. Multi-talented.

  10. The two things of the illustrator I find interesting is the drawings are beautiful and she was nominated for the Kate Greenaway award.

  11. 1. She has five children.
    2. She is both a linguist and a writer of children's fiction
    3. She has contributed poems to seven anthologies by linguists and been co-editor of five.

  12. We really like the videos and I like to work with them on the Match Game.

  13. Visited the NatGeo Kids site. We love all of the books they have about animals.

  14. On their site, I liked their Turkey Day Quiz and the info that the largest pumpkin pie weighed 2,020 pounds.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  15. I learned:
    she didn't start out to be a writer
    she is married to a law professor
    she wants to move and become a naturalist

  16. Since I'm a cat lover, the caracal interested me. They can leaps up six feet and swats her bird prey with her paw. Also,hair on the tips of a caracal’s ears may enhance their hearing, making it easier for the cat to listen for prey.


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