The Three Princes of Serendip: New Tellings of Old Tales for Everyone (Hardcover)
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This feast of Middle Eastern folklore from an award-winning Iraqi storyteller is paired with vibrant cut-paper art.
The twenty fables and folktales in this illustrated storybook have taken a long journey. Many have roots that stretch across Europe, Asia, and Africa, but when award-winning writer and gatherer of tales Rodaan Al Galidi learned them in his homeland of Iraq, it was as Arabic folktales and as part of the Arabic storytelling tradition. When he migrated to the Netherlands, he shaped twenty of those tales into his debut book for children, which was translated to English by Laura Watkinson. Filled with wisdom about love and acceptance, and warnings against folly, these elegantly translated stories—many unknown in the United States—of donkeys and roosters, kings, sheikhs, and paupers are exquisitely illustrated by cut-paper artist Geertje Aalders. Beautifully packaged, The Three Princes of Serendip is a rich and varied introduction to the world of Middle Eastern folklore.
About the Author
Rodaan Al Galidi is an award-winning author of poetry and novels for adults. The Three Princes of Serendip is his first book for children. He lives in the Netherlands.
Laura Watkinson is an award-winning translator who lives in Amsterdam.
Geertje Aalders is an acclaimed Dutch artist who uses a cut-paper technique. She lives in Kampen, Netherlands.
There are certain features that readers tend to expect of folktales—a bit of humor, a touch of trickery, magic, consequences, the upholding or destabilization of power—all of which can be found here. The book has an elegant appearance, illustrated with cut-paper collages that bring a contemporary tone to these ancient folktales. . . As the title states, this is indeed a book for everyone.
Aalders’ vivid, brilliantly colored cut-paper illustrations present insects and vegetables with the same loving level of detail as scenes of the Euphrates, palaces, and expansive deserts. . . . Short, witty, and direct, these tales make perfect short bedtime reads or interludes during the day. Pithy tellings accompanied by sumptuous illustrations make for a delightful collection.
Short and pithy, often humorous, and occasionally poignant. . . . will prompt discussion about different versions of folktales and the role of immigration in spreading and altering stories.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
A sophisticated storybook that’s ideal for bedtime read-alouds. . . Ms. Aalder’s cut-paper collages are striking and ingenious, with vivid colors and interesting shapes that make this collection for children ages 5-12 as captivating to look at as it is to read.
—The Wall Street Journal