Reviews for Joha makes a wish : a Middle Eastern tale

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kimmel adapts a Yemenite story to the traditional Arabic "Joha" motif concerning a wise fool. Joha finds a wishing stick on his way to Baghdad. Unfortunately, it works by contraries. Kimmel narrates with his usual wit and panache, nicely extended in Rayyan's watercolor illustrations, where humorously exaggerated characters are realized in tastefully muted colors while the action bursts energetically from elegant frames. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 1-3-Joha's wishes go awry, thanks to improper use of a magic stick he accidentally finds while walking to Baghdad. Kimmel recasts a Jewish tale from Yemen, borrowing story elements from widespread Middle Eastern folklore featuring the foolish wise man, aka Nasreddin Hodja. Kimmel's introductory note doesn't explain his choice of the lesser-known name "Joha" for the character. Perhaps he's melding the Arabic Juha and the Egyptian Goha for his own spin on the affable trickster. The story here is much more fully developed than the usually small Hodja/Goha episodes. In spite of Joha's angry efforts to rid himself of the troublesome stick, it tightly adheres to his hand, causing much worse trouble when he encounters the sultan in the streets of Baghdad. Kimmel's well-paced text smoothly builds events and dialogue, leaving the character interpretation to the comic portrayals in Rayyan's energetic watercolors. Joha is a small man with large hands and feet and a long, thin expressive face beneath a generous turban. His frayed sandals and patched trousers contrast with the splendor of the robust sultan and his armored guards. Joha's misadventures and the trouble he causes the sultan depart liberally from their folklore and cultural roots but offer an enjoyable escapade demonstrating that universal scheme of the unwitting little guy getting the better of those in power. The wishing scheme and fulsome pictures promise read-aloud fun.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.