The Old Woman and the Eagle

Overview

It wasn't very long ago that few Americans even knew where Afghanistan was, much less had any interest in its culture or those of its Central Asian neighbors. While things have changed in that regard, there are still precious few children's books in our country having to do with that part of the world.

This lack makes Hoopoe’s award-winning series all the more compelling. These enchanting and beautifully illustrated books, which have delighted children, parents and educators ...

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Overview

It wasn't very long ago that few Americans even knew where Afghanistan was, much less had any interest in its culture or those of its Central Asian neighbors. While things have changed in that regard, there are still precious few children's books in our country having to do with that part of the world.

This lack makes Hoopoe’s award-winning series all the more compelling. These enchanting and beautifully illustrated books, which have delighted children, parents and educators since 1998, are based on traditional stories from Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Middle east, collected and written for children by Afghan author Idries Shah.

The latest in this series, THE OLD WOMAN AND THE EAGLE will not disappoint. Superbly illustrated by Natasha Delmar, daughter of the celebrated classic Chinese painter Ng Yi-Ching, and intended for children ages 3-8, it tells with gentle humor what happens when an old woman encounters an eagle for the first time. Perplexed by its unfamiliar appearance, she decides to change it to suit her own ideas of what a bird should look like. Her efforts – which much to the poor eagle’s chagrin, include straightening its beak, trimming its claws and smoothing its feathers – mirror a common pattern of human thought: altering the unfamiliar to make it acceptable.

This book, like the previous seven in Hoopoe’s series, does more than entertain. It encourages children to think for themselves and helps foster greater insight and mental flexibility in people of all ages. In the process, it also teaches us something about an important but little-known culture.

Few Americans realize that, prior to the Soviet invasion and subsequent chaos in that country, Afghanistan was a major cultural crossroads, a place where many races lived alongside each other in harmony and where a rich, diverse culture developed over many centuries. THE OLD WOMAN AND THE EAGLE – like its fellow Hoopoe titles – provides a beautiful and positive representation of that culture when we need it most.

The exquisite illustrations offer a taste of the dress, geography and art of the region. Children delight in the story – as they have done for more than a thousand years. At this difficult time, this book can help children get a better understanding of a very important part of the world, what we have in common, and what we can learn from each other.


About the Author

Idries Shah, who died in 1996, spent over 30 years collecting stories from the Sufi tradition and adapting them to contemporary Western culture. His more than three dozen books have been translated into 12 languages. A practical philosophy with deep roots in Afghanistan, Sufism is sometimes mislabeled “Islamic mysticism” in the West because it is widespread in Moslem countries, although it is not tied to any religion and has included members of all faiths.

Natasha Delmar was born in Hong Kong and raised in Argentina. Now she lives and works in the Bay Area. Natasha learned to paint from her father, the celebrated classic Chinese painter Ng Yi-Ching. This is her first book.

A Sufi teaching tale from Afghanistan about an old woman who insists that an eagle must really be a pigeon.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hoopoe Books spans the globe to offer four picture-book-and-CD packages featuring stories from the Sufi tradition adapted to Western culture by Afghani author Indries Shah. A roster of talented narrators serves up vibrant, often buttery-toned readings of these entertaining fables. Titles contain an educational introduction, narration with page-turn signals (and without signals), and all are available in Spanish and English, as well as hardcover and paperback. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-This Middle-Eastern folktale told by Afghan writer Indries Shah tells the story of an old woman who can't accept that things can be different when she meets an eagle and insists that he must be a pigeon because she has never before seen an eagle. The woman then changes the eagle's claws, beak, and tuft so that he will resemble the pigeon. In the end, the bird flies away and returns to looking like an eagle. Beautiful illustrations by Natasha Delmar enhance this interesting tale. The CD consists of three parts: an introduction, the story with and without page-turn signals. The introduction, performed by Richard Fartherly, is a nice tool for parents and teachers as it provides brief background information on teaching stories, the Middle East, and the story of the eagle. There are also tips for parents on sharing this story with their children. Narrator Deb Bluford creates individual personas for each of the characters. The story is read at a nice pace that allows for time to follow along with the words as well as look at the detailed pictures. The addition of traditional music in the background adds authenticity to the tale.-Veronica Schwartz, Des Plaines Public Library, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Out of Afghanistan comes this simple Sufi folk story collected by the late, noted Afghan author. In this gloriously illustrated tale, an old woman grooms an eagle to represent what she thinks is a pigeon--the only type of bird with which she is familiar. Its beak is bent, not straight like it should be, his claws are too long and its feathers are ruffled. The old woman straightens the eagle’s beak, clips his claws, combs his feathers smooth, and then releases him back outside. When the eagle meets another, the second eagle helps brush up the first eagle’s feathers and bends the eagle’s beak to its rounded form. His claws will grow in time. Meanwhile, the two of them will stay away from silly people who think pigeons are eagles and eagles pigeons. Delmar’s paintings are beautiful and realistic. The side panels with detailed borders reflect elements of the tale and foreshadow events or reflect the elegant setting. Given that there is so little available for children from this region, the classic story, packaged in an elegant design, will be a good addition to every collection. (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781883536275
  • Publisher: I S H K
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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