Bound To Stay Bound

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Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2013 On his way to the local market with his father, young Nasreddine follows behind as his father, Mustafa, rides their old donkey, prompting a rich vizier near the market to call Mustafa lazy for riding while his son walks. Mustafa takes the insult in stride, but Nasreddine is so ashamed he goes home. Despite Nasreddine’s attempts to avoid embarrassment on subsequent market trips (he alone rides the donkey, then he and his father ride the donkey together, then he and his father walk while the donkey carries only its cargo), each time some group finds fault with their transportation, sending Nasreddine home in shame. His father eventually gently explains that “people can always find a reason to criticize you if they want to,” leading Nasreddine to realize that “you can’t be afraid that other people will judge you or make fun of you.” Older primary graders and middle graders will appreciate the story’s consistent structure, and the lessons that Nasreddine, a traditional figure in Middle Eastern folktales, learns will easily translate to young audiences who have undoubtedly experienced unjust criticism firsthand. Weulersse’s storytelling is clear and measured, and the loving relationship between father and son is warm and reassuring. In Dautremer’s elegant and compelling art, rich earth tones capably evoke the Middle East setting, and the slightly elongated figures of the adults emphasize the impact they have on the diminutive Nasreddine, eye-catching in his scarlet tunic. Some scenes utilize an unusual perspective, such as looking down from above or up from below at the action, to strong effect as well. Whether partnered with other folktales in a classroom or library unit or shared on its own, Nasreddine’s adventures are likely to spark some thoughtful discussion among kids. JH - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

School Library Journal - 04/20/2013 Gr 1–3—One day, Nasreddine and his father, Mustafa, a wise and patient man, load a basket of dates on their donkey's back to take to market. Mustafa rides, and the boy walks behind. A powerful vizier sees them and criticizes Mustafa as "a lazy man who lounges and makes his son slosh through the mud!" Nasreddine is embarrassed so a few weeks later he feigns a twisted ankle so that he can ride on the donkey while they take wool to the weavers. However, several women see him on the donkey and his father walking behind. "Fathers don't have any authority at all….No one respects older folks anymore," they say. Next time, they both ride on the donkey, along with a rooster and hens in a cage. Now they are criticized for being cruel to the animals. When Nasreddine decides that the only way to end the criticism is to carry the donkey to market, Mustafa gently explains his mistake. "People can always find a way to criticize you if they want to….It's up to you to decide if what you're hearing is wise or if it's only a silly and hurtful remark." This story, illustrated in ink and earth-toned watercolors, is based on traditional stories told throughout the Middle East. The writing style, with its subtle humor, repetition, and lesson, follows the familiar folktale format. A fine addition for most children's collections.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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