Hosni the Dreamer: An Arabian Tale

Overview

Hosni is a shepherd who has always wanted to see the city across the desert. One day the sheik he works for asks Hosni to make the journey with him and other shepherds to sell his camels. Each shepherd is given one gold dinar, and Hosni spends his on a piece of wisdom. Everyone laughs at Hosni for squandering his small fortune, but his purchase soon saves his life--and changes it forever. Full color.
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Overview

Hosni is a shepherd who has always wanted to see the city across the desert. One day the sheik he works for asks Hosni to make the journey with him and other shepherds to sell his camels. Each shepherd is given one gold dinar, and Hosni spends his on a piece of wisdom. Everyone laughs at Hosni for squandering his small fortune, but his purchase soon saves his life--and changes it forever. Full color.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A lone dreamer in the midst of practically-minded peers may be well-trod territory in the picture book kingdom, but this jauntily illustrated retelling of an old Arabian folktale puts a fresh face on the familiar theme. Caldecott Medalist Shulevitz's (The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship) color-saturated watercolors, ablaze with the fiery hues of the desert, play up the tale's exotic setting, defined not only by the broad expanses of sand and rock but also the detailsbright robes, headdresses and tents, canopy-topped camels, stone stairways and minarets, and a bustling bazaar. Pivotal, more internal scenes are awash in soothing blue. Israeli author Ben-Ezer smoothly recounts the tribulations and triumphs of Hosni, a shepherd boy who longs for travel and adventure. His dreams come true when the sheik takes him to the city on a camel-trading trip. Ridiculed by his fellow travelers for spending all his earnings to buy a single verse from an elderly man, Hosni finds that his money is well spent in the end, for by heeding the man's words ("Don't cross the water until you know its depth"), he spares both himself and a young maiden from the watery death that overtakes his once-sneering companions. In good fairy-tale fashion, the pair lives happily ever after. A literary magic-carpet ride. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Hosni is a simple shepherd who finally gets to see the big city. When the sheikh gives him a gold dinar to spend, Hosni uses his money in a small shop where a sign offers "One verse for one gold dinar." The verse seems to have no relevance until Hosni and the others head back home. A storm in the mountains creates a flash flood and only Hosni by heeding the words of the verse is saved. Not only is his life spared, but also he manages to gain wealth and a bride in the Arabian tale. The pictures by Shulevitz are predominately in the yellows and browns of the desert surroundings and provide a light touch to this cautionary tale.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5--A "wise-fool" story set in the deserts of Arabia. Hosni, a simple shepherd, works for a sheikh. Alone much of the day, he talks to his sheep; at night, he listens to the tribal elders' tales and dreams of faraway cities. When the sheikh goes to a city to sell camels, he takes some shepherds with him, including Hosni. Each one receives a golden dinar to spend as he pleases. Dazzled, the man wanders the busy streets and crowded markets, finally exchanging his dinar for a verse, words of wisdom from an old man. Of course, the other shepherds make fun of Hosni, and, of course, the verse--a bit of homely advice--not only saves his life, but also serves to introduce him to his future wife. Basing his story on a folktale, Ben-Ezer uses crisp, vivid language throughout; he includes descriptions and phrases that suggest the tale's setting. Shulevitz's illustrations add a light, comic touch. The sheikh appears stubby and self-important; the other shepherds seem foolishly self-congratulatory. Hosni alone has a quiet dignity. The desert provides the backdrop for most of the story; its stylized landforms echo the shapes of the city towers, which in turn repeat the shapes of the shepherds' turbans and camel packs. Colors include soft greens, blues, and reds, but a desert gold predominates. The hue suggests both Hosni's good fortune and the richness of his dreams.--Ellen D. Warwick, Winchester Public Library, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374333409
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/30/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.84 (w) x 10.28 (h) x 0.32 (d)

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