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The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal (Idries Shah)
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Author: Idries Shah; Illustrated by Rose Mary Santiago
Publisher: Hoopoe Books (2005)
Pages: 34 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
When a boy visits another village, he is amazed to find the townspeople terrified of something that—just because they have not seen it before—they mistake for a terrible, dangerous animal. With his own knowledge and by demonstration, he helps them overcome their fears.
This story belongs to the rich storytelling tradition of Afghanistan. In an entertaining way, it introduces children to an interesting aspect of human behavior and so enables them to recognize it in their daily life.
One of the many teachings stories collected by the Afghan author Idries Shah, this tale is presented here as part of his series of books for young readers.
Rose Mary Santiago’s illustrations accentuate the surprise in this story in a clever way that will delight youngsters. This is the second book in this series illustrated by her, following the award-winning best seller, The Farmer’s Wife.
“This entertaining folktale is part of an oral tradition from the Middle East and Central Asia. A boy visits a neighboring village where he discovers a frightened crowd pointing to ‘a dangerous animal’ in one of their fields. The youngster soon realizes that the large and terrifying object is a ‘MELON!’ He proceeds to show the villagers that it can be eaten, and then they are fearful of him. He laughs at their silliness and their fear of the unknown, and convinces them that they can also plant its seeds and grow their own fruit. The strangers take his advice and soon their town is called Melon Village. The satisfying ending includes an illustration of the boy looking out onto fields full of melons. The colorful and humorously rendered illustrations bring this story to life. A great choice for anyone looking for a fun folktale with a positive message.”
—The School Library Journal
Chosen by the Library of Congress for their 2002 children’s holiday program