A Fistful of Pearls and Other Tales from Iraq (Folktales from Around the World)

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9781845078119: A Fistful of Pearls and Other Tales from Iraq (Folktales from Around the World)

Secret serpents, devilish demons, mysterious magicians — the folk tales of Iraq are filled with otherworldly creatures, enchantment, and earthy humor. During her time spent in the Middle East, award-winning novelist Elizabeth Laird gathered together the very best Iraqi stories, ranging from thieving porcupines who get their come-uppance to the hilarious tale of the chaos caused by a handsome stranger who knocks at a house harboring a marriageable daughter. Meticulously researched, these stories reveal the true, traditional heart of Iraq, far removed from today's news headlines.

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Laird worked in Malaysia and Ethiopia and lived in Iraq and Beirut during the civil war, before being evacuated to Vienna and finally moving to Richmond. Her best-known books are A Little Piece of Ground, about the Arab/Israeli conflict, and The Garbage King, set in Addis Ababa, which was shortlisted for the 2003 Carnegie Medal. Her first novel, Red Sky in the Morning, was Highly Commended for the Carnegie Medal. Kiss the Dust, which won the Children's Book Award in 1992 and the Dutch Royal Geographical Society Glass Globe Award, is also set in Iraq and Iran. She wrote the Wild Things series of ten novels on wildlife and conservation themes, set in Africa.

Review:

A Fistful of Pearls is enchanting. Its baddies are wolves and thieves; its stories are fabulous, and they are just the right length. Its tone is ideal for reading aloud, and perhaps this, more than real baddies and fewer pictures, will encourage children to read for themselves. And bedtime stories from Iraq can surely remind us that some innocence is worth preserving when some real-life baddies are plentiful enough. -- The Daily Telegraph

Elizabeth Laird has captured much that was, and probably is, still magical about Iraq and its history. A glimpse into the heart of a war torn nation. -- Junior Magazine

Elizabeth Laird's glittering collection of folk tales...A highly unusual and welcome collection sure to be of interest to schools, at a time when the curriculum places more emphasis on multiculturalism. -- Carousel

The wonder of this collection resides in the background details of the animals and in the language that Elizabeth Laird uses in these retellings. They make the stories seem refreshingly different and new-found, even though their origins are far in the past. -- The Guardian

This delightful collection of nine Iraqi tales of varying length would be a pleasure to read aloud, with its variety of characters' voices and its clear and lively style...Laird's introduction paints a picture of Baghdad and Basra before the war, and of the simple huts and quiet villages in t he countryside. Apart from being fine entertainment, these stories reveal a culture that it is a crime to destroy. -- The Sunday Times

Today's children may have a limited view of anything labeled Iraq, and this delightful collection of nine folk tales could do much to offer them an alternative picture of a gentle culture in which lessons about being kind and forgiving rather than greedy, selfish or envious can be learned through the activities of caliphs and princes, and of magic and talking animals. -- School Librarian

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