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Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!: A Palestinian Folktale
     

Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!: A Palestinian Folktale

by Margaret Read MacDonald, Alik Arzoumanian (Illustrator)
 

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There was once a woman who had a little pot for a child. Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!—that was the sound the pot made as it rolled everywhere. Unfortunately the pot wasn’t old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. That naughty pot ran off with things that did not belong to her until she learned her lesson . . . the hard way

Overview

There was once a woman who had a little pot for a child. Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!—that was the sound the pot made as it rolled everywhere. Unfortunately the pot wasn’t old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. That naughty pot ran off with things that did not belong to her until she learned her lesson . . . the hard way

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A woman yearns for a child, "even if it is nothing more than a cooking pot." But when her prayers to Allah are literally answered, she gets much more than she bargained for. The hyperactive Little Pot fills the house with the sound of "Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!" as she rolls around the floor (according to the author's note, the exclamation, which becomes the book's refrain, is based on the Arabic word for pot). Even worse, Little Pot has no moral compass; she rolls into town and steals honey from a merchant and jewels from the queen. But the king devises a "just reward" for the miscreant piece of cooking equipment: he orders Little Pot to be filled with goat dung. "I want my Maa-ma Maa-ma!... My mouth is full of nyaa-nyaa!" squeals Little Pot. Back at home, she is lovingly scrubbed by her mother and then grounded "until she was old enough to know the difference between right... and wrong." MacDonald's (Three-Minute Tales) fluid prose (adapted from a story in Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales by Ibrahim Muhawi and Sharif Kanaana, according to an author's note) reflects the voice of an experienced storyteller. Her smooth pacing anchors the story, while newcomer Arzoumanian's highly stylized (but always accessible) acrylics energize it. The boldly graphic, vibrantly hued settings pay homage to Arabic visual traditions-particularly mosaic art-while the exotically costumed, appealing characters will draw readers into the action. Ages 3-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In this Palestinian folktale, a woman's prayer for a child is answered in an unusual way: with a rambunctious little cooking pot. While her mother works, Little Pot rolls around, noisily shouting "Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!" One day, despite her mother's worries, Little Pot insists on going out into the world. In the market, a rich merchant fills the pot with honey for his wife, but Little Pot will not allow him to open the lid. Happily chanting her shout, she brings it home to her delighted mother. Next Little Pot rolls to the palace, where the queen puts her jewels inside. Again the lid remains sealed, and Little Pot brings the gems home. Rolling back to the market next day, she is seized by the furious merchant and taken to the king. The angry king sends the pot to the goat pen, for "what she deserves" to be placed inside. Filled with "nyaa-nyaa," Little Pot runs unhappily home, where her mother hopes she has learned a lesson. The tale is told briskly, with rhymes and repetitions that make for fun reading aloud. Arzoumanian stirs in a Middle East flavor using acrylic paints to create decorative borders and backgrounds suggesting the costumes, styles, and fabric designs of the region. Characters and objects are stylized in a cartoonlike fashion, with very large heads and tiny hands. The visual narrative, starring the saucy pot, is lively and frequently funny. The author details the background of the tale in a note. 2006, Marshall Cavendish Children, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A childless woman prays to Allah for progeny and is rewarded with a mischievous little cooking pot with human attributes. Soon the little pot tires of rattling around the house ("Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!") and insists on rolling off to market, where she tricks a rich man into filling her up with honey and rolls home again. The second time the pot leaves home she encounters a king who fills her with jewels. When Little Pot rolls home with this treasure, her mother realizes that she has been absconding with other people's property and tells her child that she will have to return everything. In the morning, the unrepentant pot escapes before her mother awakes, but she meets the rich man again, who takes her to the king. The men conspire to fill the pot with goat dung, which convinces her to stay home until she is old enough to have learned right from wrong. MacDonald's telling is filled with repetition to encourage children to join in. Arzoumanian's bright, acrylic illustrations of sloe-eyed humans and the sly-eyed red pot are set against backgrounds with suggestions of Arabic decorative arts, which reinforce the story nicely.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After a childless woman prays for a child, a cooking pot (tunjara in Arabic, leading to the sound of a rolling pot, "Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!") appears and the woman is grateful. The pot begs to go to the market and the mother reluctantly lets her go, after making her promise to behave-but the little pot is young and greedy. The pot steals honey from a rich couple and then jewels from the king and queen. Finally the little pot is punished: She is filled with goat manure! The heavy-lidded men and women in the bright acrylic paintings have a comic-book feel, but the patterned clothes, textiles, architectures and borders are more authentic. Relatively few Palestinian tales have been made available in picture-book form in this country. MacDonald is a well-known storyteller, and the original story was collected during a live telling. The tale has an oral quality that makes it easy to read or tell with repetitive phrases and lively rhythms. (author's note) (Picture book/folktale. 6-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761463122
Publisher:
Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
12/04/2012
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,250,343
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile:
420L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

"Margaret Read MacDonald likes to discover old tales that are not widely known to the public. Every year, she travels to exotic new places in search of tales—Kota Kinabalu, Alor Setar, Shanghai, Palembang, and Buenos Aires, to name a few. She retold another tale for Marshall Cavendish: Too Many Fairies, illustrated by Susan Mitchell. Dr. MacDonald lives in Kirkland, Washington. For more information about her work, visit her Web site: www.margaretreadmacdonald.com

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