Arab Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook (Fairy Tale Feasts)

by Karim Alrawi (Author) Nahid Kazemi (Illustrator)

Arab Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook (Fairy Tale Feasts)
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Award-winning writer and storyteller, Karim Alrawi, draws on his deep knowledge of Arab culture to create original stories that are a feast for young imaginations.

An entertaining, multifaceted, and delicious way to explore Arab culture Arab Fairy Tale Feasts is the latest title in the highly-praised Fairy Tale Feasts Collection, a creative series that folds enchanting folk tales into cookbooks of kid-friendly recipes. Award-winning writer and storyteller, Karim Alrawi, draws on his deep knowledge of Arab culture to create original stories that are a feast for young imaginations. Told with intriguing details, the tales take young readers on a delicious cultural journey and invite them to consider an Arab perspective. Each tale symbolically incorporates food and concludes with a traditional recipe, lovingly flavored with colorful folkloric illustrations, making this a literary banquet to savor with family and friends across generations time and again.

This charming, whimsical, and beautifully illustrated book will capture children's fancy and will be enjoyed by the whole family.

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Publishers Weekly

The latest volume in the publisher's "international storied cookbooks" series draws on the rich storytelling traditions of Arab peoples, who, a note specifies, "live in diverse communities with long histories and many different beliefs and customs." Here, 14 tales capped with pithy morals are paired with complementary recipes, most of which require adult help. In "Juicy Apricots," a girl sneaks into a Marrakesh garden, overeats its fruit, and has to be helped down by the gardener--a plot summed up as "the wit of the mischievous should be a warning to the wise." Recipes for mehallabeyat qamaruddin (apricot pudding) and qamaruddin (apricot sheets) follow. Factoid boxes share additional information: "In Egypt, apricot kernels are ground and mixed with coriander seeds and salt to make a traditional snack called dokka." Kazemi's largely unlined, stylized illustrations employ a folkloric sensibility to render ingredients as well as human characters of various skin tones. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3--Following Fairy Tale Feasts and Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts, the third entry in the "Literary Cookbook" series contains 14 delightfully entertaining original tales. The anecdotes are preceded by an introduction, "The Meal and the Conversation," which defines Arabs as "people who mainly live in North Africa and the Middle East" and gives a brief history of cookbooks in that region. An Arab axiom, "Nothing heals the body like a good meal, and nothing soothes the soul like a good story," is a fitting segue to the text. Each short fable is accompanied by one or more related recipes. For example, "A Pot of Coins," about a miserly man who begs for food and money while hoarding his cash, is followed by two recipes: Shorbit Adas (simple lentil soup) and Manakish Zaatar (Zaatar flatbread). The book contains cautionary tales, a pourquoi story, and narratives in which individuals get their much-deserved comeuppance. All the tales, which are accompanied by numerous colorful illustrations, end with a moral. Boxes are scattered throughout the book and define Arab words, impart useful nuggets of information about the Arab world, or contain hints on preparing the recipes. VERDICT These tales beg to be read and discussed; the many and varied recipes will be fun for classroom use or for families to share.--Maryann H. Owen, Oak Creek P.L., WI

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"A must-read book ... Children's books are known for a lot of things, but teaching kids how to cook is not one of them. And yet, after reading Karim Alrawi's book, Arab Fairy Tale Feasts, one wonders, why not? Written by Alrawi in simple, approachable language and with obvious affection and tenderness for his culture, this book includes folk tales that immerse the reader and urge them to consider the Arab perspective. Each story is about food, feasting, and Arab culinary traditions, and concludes with a recipe for a traditional favorite dish, such as mamoul (date-filled cookies), shish taouk (chicken kebab), manakish zaatar (zaatar flatbread), and more. Arab Fairy Tale Feasts is part of a series of children's books that celebrates the cuisines of different cultures with kid-friendly recipes and heartwarming anecdotes. Grades 4-7."—Vancouver Writers Festival
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
September 20, 2021
Fairy Tale Feasts

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