Synopses & Reviews
Philip Pullman garnered every accolade around with the breathtaking His Dark Materials trilogy. Now he turns his storytelling gifts to one of the most famous of the Arabian Nights tales, Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp. Aladdin is a shiftless good-for-nothing boy until he unwittingly acquires a magic lamp inhabited by a genie and the adventure that follows both makes his fortune and makes him a man. Pullman tells the tale with his trademark crisp writing and fast-paced action, while Sophy Williams's pastels shimmer with the heat and beauty of the Far East. Terrific for reading aloud!
"As lavishly ornamented as a sultan's palace, this sumptuous picture book retains the essence of the original Arabian story while updating the language and plot enough to suit modern readers. The words seem exotic without being too ornate, and the book's generous white-bordered pages complement the silver ornamentation of the jacket to announce its gift book status. Pullman (the His Dark Materials trilogy) streamlines the plot, and unlike the Disney animated film, centers his story on Aladdin, minimizing the role of the mysterious jinnee. Pullman's otherwise brisk retelling occasionally lingers lovingly over the enchanting details he invents. He describes the magic garden with its imprisoned imp in a glass bottle, its 'butterfly with a human face tethered by a golden chain no thicker than a hair, and dozens of other wonders.' While Pullman's narrative sets the story in China (as does the original), Williams's (When Grandma Came) paintings focus instead on dreamy, Middle-Eastern caricatures of the villainous Moor, the princess's harem-like bedroom and radish-shaped palaces. Still, there's plenty of humor and wordplay for adults as well as children, including Pullman's mention of the supposed narrator Aladdin hires to write his story ('Blessed be Aladdin, Prince of Publishers! May every poor writer of stories find a patron as generous and wise!'). An excellent introduction to the Aladdin lore, and a pithy parable as well. Ages 7-10." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Fulfilling expectations of extravagance set up by the silver-gilded book jacket, Pullman's spin on Aladdin's serendipitous adventures is satisfyingly festooned with exotic vocabulary and details....[T]his big, lavish volume is undeniably enticing, and it will help lessen the grip of Disney's 1992 movie." Booklist
"[T]his is Pullman tipping his turban to the stories of yore, the chaotic and mesmerizing tales so often remembered as orderly and bright. Even the most polished of lamps, this 'Aladdin' reminds us, can be the darkest of materials." Daniel Handler, the New York Times Book Review
The award-winning author of the His Dark Materials trilogy now turns his storytelling gifts to one of the most famous of the Arabian Nights tales, masterfully retelling the story with his trademark crisp writing and fast-paced action. Full color.