In the Meadow of Fantasies

by Hadi Mohammadi (Author) Nooshin Safakhoo (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Written by the winner of IBBY's Best Book Award, Mohammad Hadi Mohammadi, In the Meadow of Fantasies is one girl's luminous escapade into a land of seven mysterious horses.

A young girl with a physical handicap gazes up at a mobile of spinning horses from her little pink bed in her room filled with leafy plants. As she watches them prance about, the tufted snout of a real live horse peeks through her bedroom door. Soon enough, our bright protagonist is off and cantering on an adventure with seven majestic horses. The first six are easily understood: their colors, dreams, families, and origins are described and accompanied with exquisite drawings. The seventh horse, however, is an enigmatic creature with no clear hue or history, a lack that is soon filled in by the loving offerings of the other ponies.

A story about dreaming and about caring for others, In the Meadow of Fantasies will remind young readers of their own reveries and conjure new fantasies of friendly creatures in far off lands.

Publishers Weekly

Not a folktale, not a poem, not a dream, but some whirling mixture of the three, this lulling recitation by Iranian author Mohammadi affirms generosity as a natural impulse. A paper-white girl in bed beside a wheelchair imagines into life the seven horses of a mobile that hangs above her. Straightforward lines categorize the dot-eyed equine beasts: "The first horse was white./ The second horse was black/... But the seventh horse had no color at all." Illustrator Safakhoo represents the girl, the horses, and their exploits in finely hatched ink lines and muted colors. With droll humor, she draws a large aboveground pool in which the horses bathe to give a patch of their color to the seventh horse, whom the girl pushes in off a diving board: "Now the seventh horse was of every color." The seventh horse has no home, but the others give it parts of theirs; the seventh horse has no dreams, but the others share theirs, and the transformation slowly brings color to the girl's world. Repeating phrases and softly amusing drawings give this imaginative realm of loving-kindness a gossamer touch. Ages 3-7. (Nov.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Not a folktale, not a poem, not a dream, but some whirling mixture of the three, this lulling recitation by Iranian author Mohammadi affirms generosity as a natural impulse . . . Repeating phrases and softly amusing drawings give this imaginative realm of loving-kindness a gossamer touch. —Publishers Weekly

This fantastical adventure draws readers in with lyrical text and mesmerizing illustrations. Each page turn reveals a new layer of fantasy . . . Deft composition pairs slightly rough, stonelike textures with exquisite details . . . Though the story is ultimately joyous, there's an emotionally compelling sense of longing that thrums just under the surface.—Kirkus Reviews

Delicate pen-and-ink drawings filled with watercolor wash relate a dreamy story of a little girl confined to bed . . . The girl's legs are encased in splints, but a spinning mobile of horses overhead provides comfort and diversion . . . I especially enjoyed the animals arrayed at a dinner table with plates of grass, each with their fanciful dreams erupting from the heads. .—Youth Services Book Reviews

Between the captivating art, the lyrical narration, and the fantastical story, readers will be swept away into a little girl's wonderland . . . In the Meadow of Fantasies is an ode to imagination and a celebration of beautiful creation.—Victoria DiMassa, Glass of Wine and Milk

When you pick up this book, you are holding something precious in your hands—a velvety, folkloric tale of seven horses and the young disabled girl who dreams of them from her bedroom . . . Nooshin Safakhoo's breathtaking illustrations left me sighing in awe and contentment. A dream of a book!—Mary Wahlmeier Bracciano, Bookseller at The Raven Book Store (Lawerence, Kansas)
Hadi Mohammadi
Hadi Mohammadi is a distinguished Iranian children's book writer, researcher, and critic. He began his career as a freelance writer at the age of 22 and has now published more than 40 novels and picture books for children and young adults. A strong proponent of women's rights, Mohammadi has centered strong and confident girls as his heroines throughout his career. His work has been translated into several languages, including English, Thai, Turkish, Korean, and Arabic. He was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2006.

Nooshin Safakhoo was born in Tehran in 1980. After teaching painting classes and illustrating magazine articles, she began a long career of painting precise, lyrical images for children's books, including The Owl & the Jaybird and Shahname. Her illustrations for In the Meadow of Fantasies have earned her numerous awards, including from the NAMI Concours; and she has been selected three times to show her work at the Bologna Children's Book Fair.

Sara Khalili is an editor and translator of contemporary Iranian literature. Her translations include Moon Brow and Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour, The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons by Goli Taraghi, The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee, Kissing the Sword by Shahrnush Parsipur, and Rituals of Restlessness by Yaghoub Yadali. Her translation of Tali Girls by Afghan novelist Siamak Herawi is forthcoming from Archipelago.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
November 20, 2021
Batchelder Award
Honor Book 2022
ALSC Notable Children's Book
Selection 2022

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