The Gifts of Wali Dad: A Tale of India and Pakistan

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-A superior retelling of the ``Story of Wali Dad the Simple-hearted,'' one of the best-loved tales in Andrew Lang's Brown Fairy Book (1965; o.p.) (and later in Lang's Olive Fairy Book [1968; o.p., both Dover]). Shepard has condensed the story, stressing its comic elements, and-with San Souci-has brought it to life for new audiences. Wali Dad is content to be a simple grass-cutter. When his frugal habits result in a lot of money-more than he can ever use-he buys a gold bracelet and asks a merchant to give it to the noblest woman in the world: the queen of Khaistan. She sends Wali Dad a gift in return. So he asks the merchant to take her gift to the noblest man in the world: the king of Nekabad. The king then sends a reciprocal gift, which Wali Dad passes on to the queen. The exchanges continue, the presents growing more and more extravagant, until Wali Dad, with the aid of two peris (benevolent beings akin to fairies), brings the young queen and king together. They marry, and Wali Dad happily returns to his simple life. San Souci's full- and double-page watercolor illustrations depict a comic, expressive Wali Dad with an oversized head dominated by a huge nose. Full of interesting details, the pictures support and enlarge upon the text. A worthy addition.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Mary Harris Veeder
Wali Dad is an elderly grass-cutter with simple tastes. Unlike the fisherman's wife of fairy-tale fame, Wali Dad wants less, not more. When he gives a golden bracelet to a merchant with instructions for it to be taken to the "noblest lady," he has no idea that he'll end up bringing together a princess and a prince and being wealthier than he could have imagined. However, he is happiest only when he gets his best wish--to become a simple grass-cutter again. Although other figures are drawn in ordinary proportions, Wali Dad is a caricature, a sort of comic Rumpelstiltskin--small, wizened, and elderly, with a large head, and a nose and beard that appear to curve upward. In addition to introducing some figures of Indian and Pakistani folklore, the illustrations convey an atmosphere of radiating generosity, which begins in the pictures of the golden wheat Wali Dad cuts and ends when Wali Dad is back in his cottage of golden straw, with a golden moon above.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684194455
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.28 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.34 (d)

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