by Odile Weulersse
Rébecca Dautremer, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Back Cover: No matter what Nasreddine does, it always seems to meet with someone’s disapproval. Should he listen to the grand vizier on his beautiful horse? The old men at the market? The children who laugh at him? Nasreddine’s wise father has some very different advice for his son . . .
First Sentence: One morning Nasreddine was sitting on a carpet in the shade of a palm, drinking camel’s milk with cinnamon, when his father Mustafa called him: “Nasreddine, bring the donkey from the stables. We are going to the market.”
Young Nasreddine found himself in a pickle of a situation. When his father rode the donkey to market and he walked behind, the grand vizier called Mustafa lazy, making his son “slosh through the mud.” Mustafa replied
“Your words, sir, are hurting my ears.”
Nasreddine had a different reply. Red with embarrassment, he told his father he was tired and going back home, then no one “will make fun of us.” Mustafa told his son to go home if that was what he wanted to do.
When the wool was ready for market, Nasreddine told his father he sprained his ankle. Nasreddine’s trick worked. He now rode the donkey and his father walked behind it. No one would make fun of them now. But they did.
With each market visit, regardless of who rode and who walked, someone ridiculed father and son. Nasreddine said he had the solution, but his father told him it was a mistake. Nasreddine did not understand. He had listened to everyone and taken into account what each had said. How could it be a mistake? It was because . . .
Nasreddine is a great story for teens as they near the age of parental embarrassment. Someone once told me no one could embarrass me but myself. What others do or say should not embarrass me, as it is not my behavior. Nasreddine would have done well to ignore the “wise” vizier, the old men and women, and the kids. He would have been wise to ignore those that ridiculed him, rather than listen to them and consider their words when solving his perceived problem.
The author did a great job writing this story for today’s generation. Even though the story takes place in the Middle East, kids will understand what is happening. Mustafa is a wise father, with lots of patience, who listens to his son, and allows him to solve their “problem.” I liked that. I do not know how many fathers are like Mustafa, but the world would be much better place if they were. Dads read this story to your son, several times.
The illustrations are wonderful. The white background makes the images jump off the page. I love the reflections drawn into the water. The faces of those who ridicule the pair are sad at the very least. Most are mean, grouchy, and unpleasant. The artist, Rébecca Dautremer, has done a brilliant job bringing the author’s words to life.
Nasreddine is a story perfect for the summer or the start of school, or camp, or any situation. The story will remind kids to ignore those that are mean and not to be mean toward others. When no one is watching is when this is the hardest to do. The story also reminds all of us that we do not need to listen to the criticism of others or live our lives ruled by that criticism. Nasreddine is a folktale retold many times through the ages. This latest retelling is smart and beautiful. Nasreddine is a great addition to any home or classroom library.
by Odile Weulersse website blog facebook twitter Rébecca Dautremer, illustrator website blog facebook tumblr Translation by Kathleen Merz website blog facebook twitter Eerdmans Books for Young Readers website blog facebook twitter Released March 1, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-8028-5416-2 32 Pages Ages 4 to 9 . Text: Copyright © 2005 by Odile Weulersse Illustrations: Copyright © 2005 by Rébecca Dautremer 2013 publication by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers 2013, used with permission
BOOK DONATED TO LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY