Forty Fortunes: A Tale of Iran

Overview

The royal treasure has been stolen, and not even Iran's finest diviners can locate the forty fortunes. When the King turns to Ahmed to find the treasure, Ahmed is certain that he will be thrown in prison. Yes, he was able to locate a missing ring, but that was pure luck, and he knows that he has no real fortunetelling skills. He has only forty days to find the forty fortunes. Will he find a way to locate the treasure-and save himself-before the time is up? This retelling of a traditional Iranian folktale, charged...
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Overview

The royal treasure has been stolen, and not even Iran's finest diviners can locate the forty fortunes. When the King turns to Ahmed to find the treasure, Ahmed is certain that he will be thrown in prison. Yes, he was able to locate a missing ring, but that was pure luck, and he knows that he has no real fortunetelling skills. He has only forty days to find the forty fortunes. Will he find a way to locate the treasure-and save himself-before the time is up? This retelling of a traditional Iranian folktale, charged with humor and action, is paired with fabulous jewel-toned illustrations.

A well-intentioned fortune-telling peasant unwittingly tricks a band of local thieves into returning the king's stolen treasure.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
An exotic cast of characters, humorously depicted in jewel-toned illustrations, keeps readers intently involved in this folktale. Thieves, fortune-tellers, a nagging wife and royalty abound. Shepard's talent for language that flows trippingly off the tongue and his appreciation of Mid-East humor make this ideal for reading aloud. When the royal treasure is robbed and the king's own diviners haven't a clue, the king sends for Ahmed, a fortune-teller by mistake. He's given 40 days to find the thieves or die. The action and fun never stop. The watercolor paintings glow with the life force of the scoundrels who play their parts cunningly. A happy ending leaves readers cheering for Ahmed. 1999, Clarion, Ages 7 to 11, $15.00. Reviewer: Jan Lieberman
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
Loveable fools populate this folktale from the Islamic world. A jealous wife convinces her husband to try his luck in the marketplace as a diviner. Thanks to a winning combination of common sense and good luck, this would-be street mystic becomes fortune-teller to the king. His naïve bumbling ultimately wins him fame and fortune; and the lucky fool is wise enough to learn a couple of lessons along the way, too. The full color illustrations encompass the text and are in perfect harmony with the story's mood, setting, and culture. An afterword tells not only about the story's roots, but also about some cultural elements important to both Iran and the story.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Ahmed's wife, Jamell, is not satisfied with her humble existence, and insists that her husband become a fortune-teller to earn more money. Ahmed reluctantly agrees and, through a stroke of luck, succeeds in solving the first problem put to him. When 40 treasure chests are stolen from the King and his diviners cannot determine the culprits, Ahmed is called in and threatened with life in prison should he fail. He buys some time by asking for 40 days, one for each thief. During that time, another stroke of luck allows him to discover the identity of the robbers, but it is Ahmed's ingenuity that brings the tale to its satisfying conclusion. Shepard's version of this story is a well-paced combination of humor and action. Watercolors in bright tones capture the amusing situations and accurately depict the setting. Shepard includes notes on his sources and other elements of the story. A reader's theater script and more information on divination and Iranian customs can be found at the author's Web site. A lively addition to folklore shelves.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395811337
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/23/1999
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.59 (w) x 10.79 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Aaron Shepard is a professional storyteller who specializes in retelling folktales from many cultures. He lives in San Pedro, California.

Alisher Dianov lives in Russia.

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