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Magic Horse
     

Magic Horse

5.0 2
by Idries Shah, Julie Freeman (Illustrator)
 

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The Magic Horse is the story of two brothers, one skilled in the practical arts, and the other, Prince Tambal, considered by most people to be only a dreamer. Their father, the King, announces a competition to produce "interesting and useful devices" – the entry produced by a woodcarver appears to be only a simple wooden horse –

Overview

The Magic Horse is the story of two brothers, one skilled in the practical arts, and the other, Prince Tambal, considered by most people to be only a dreamer. Their father, the King, announces a competition to produce "interesting and useful devices" – the entry produced by a woodcarver appears to be only a simple wooden horse – apparently of little value. But, when Prince Tambal looks more closely, he discovers that the horse is able to magically transport its rider to whatever place is in the rider's mind. In this way, Prince Tambal comes to learn a great many things, and eventually comes to know "his heart's desire."

This book is one of a series of illustrated Teaching-Stories by Idries Shah, stories which have captivated hearts and minds for more than a thousand years. The stories are designed to help children learn to examine their assumptions and to think for themselves.

In the Sufi tradition there is a continuum between the children’s story, the entertainment or folklore story, and the instructional or instrumental story. A story can help children deal with difficult situations and give them something to hold on to. It can, at the same time, stimulate a deeper understanding in adults.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This unexceptional, somewhat clunky retelling of an ancient tale set in the Middle East pits magic against technological advancement. While his forward-thinking brother tinkers with useful inventions, Prince Tambal, dismissed as a dreamer, flies to strange lands on a mind-reading wooden horse. Ornately decorated pages, with inset naturalistic illustrations and frame upon frame of geometric borders, complement the exotic scenes, which include a flying palace (housing the captive Princess Precious Pearl) and a camel trek through the desert. Freeman's patterns recall both mosaics and kaleidoscopes. Shah, who died in 1996, is best known for his writings on the Sufi tradition; this is one of a series of posthumously released children's books. Ostensibly a teaching story, the book's lesson is, unfortunately, less than coherent: why a love of fantasy would make Tambal a better king than his practical brother remains unclear. Ages 7-12. (Sept.) FYI: Three other books by Shah are being released from Hoopoe at the same time, for younger children. These are Neem the Half-Boy, illus. by Midori Mori and Robert Revels; The Farmer's Wife, illus. by Rose Mary Santiago; and The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water, illus. by Ingrid Rodriguez. ($17 each, 32p ages 3-8 ISBN -10-3; -07-3; -12-X)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5--Shah has collected hundreds of Sufi tales, many of which are teaching tales or instructional stories. In this tradition, the line between stories for children and those for adults is not as clear as it seems to be in Western cultures, and the lessons are important for all generations. This picture-book version of one of these stories tells of two princes, one of whom pursues his heart's desire with a mechanical fish invented by an ironsmith, and one who follows a more difficult path when he chooses a magical carved horse that appears less useful. The tale of the two brothers and their journeys is illustrated with jewel-toned, delicate paintings featuring the costumes, tools, buildings, and animals of the Moslem East. Each set of pictures is triple-framed with patterned motifs resembling the tiles and textile patterns of the culture. The two brothers do not represent good and evil as happens so often in Western tales, but instead merely the choice of two different paths. This unique quality as well as the rich art will invite discussions of differences in the characters and meanings of tales across cultures. Since little material from Sufi tradition is available for children, this book will be a welcome addition to traditional literature collections.--Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
From the Publisher
The two brothers do not represent good and evil as happens so often in Western tales, but instead merely the choice of two different paths. This unique quality as well as rich art will invite discussions of differences in the characters and meanings of tales across cultures... a welcome addition to traditional literature collections."
-School Library Journal

"Ornately decorated pages, with inset naturalistic illustrations and frame upon frame of geometric borders, complement the exotic scenes ... Freeman's patterns recall both mosaics and kaleidoscopes."
- Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781883536268
Publisher:
I S H K
Publication date:
08/28/2001
Pages:
34
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Idries Shah spent much of his life collecting Sufi classical narratives and teaching stories from oral and written sources in the Middle East and Central Asia and publishing them in book form. The eleven tales he wrote especially for children are published by Hoopoe as beautifully illustrated books, all of which have been commended by Western educators and psychologists, the Library of Congress, National Public Radio and other media for their unique ability to foster social-emotional development, thinking skills and perception in children and adults alike. Told for centuries, these stories express universal themes and a positive representation of important but often misunderstood cultures, showing how much we have in common and what we can learn from each other. They acknowledge a child's individuality and uniqueness and encourage a sense of confidence, responsibility and purpose

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