Joha Makes A Wish: A Middle Eastern Tale

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9781477816875: Joha Makes A Wish: A Middle Eastern Tale

On his way to Baghdad, Joha discovers a wishing stick. But how does it work? Joha makes some wishes, and the opposites come true. His old sandals disappear when he wishes for a new pair. He carries a donkey on his back after wishing for a donkey to carry him. And when the sultan gets hold of the stick, things really get out of control. How will Joha learn its secrets before he wishes himself into more trouble?

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About the Author:

Eric A. Kimmel lives in Portland, Oregon.

Omar Rayyan lives in West Tisbury, Massachusetts.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1–3—Joha's wishes go awry, thanks to improper use of a magic stick he accidentally finds while walking to Baghdad. Kimmel recasts a Jewish tale from Yemen, borrowing story elements from widespread Middle Eastern folklore featuring the foolish wise man, aka Nasreddin Hodja. Kimmel's introductory note doesn't explain his choice of the lesser-known name "Joha" for the character. Perhaps he's melding the Arabic Juha and the Egyptian Goha for his own spin on the affable trickster. The story here is much more fully developed than the usually small Hodja/Goha episodes. In spite of Joha's angry efforts to rid himself of the troublesome stick, it tightly adheres to his hand, causing much worse trouble when he encounters the sultan in the streets of Baghdad. Kimmel's well-paced text smoothly builds events and dialogue, leaving the character interpretation to the comic portrayals in Rayyan's energetic watercolors. Joha is a small man with large hands and feet and a long, thin expressive face beneath a generous turban. His frayed sandals and patched trousers contrast with the splendor of the robust sultan and his armored guards. Joha's misadventures and the trouble he causes the sultan depart liberally from their folklore and cultural roots but offer an enjoyable escapade demonstrating that universal scheme of the unwitting little guy getting the better of those in power. The wishing scheme and fulsome pictures promise read-aloud fun.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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