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Review: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

This retelling of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is one of the four titles in the Graphic Revolve: Arabian Nights series put out by Stone Arch (an imprint of Capstone), aimed at young readers, reluctant readers, and ESL students.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Manning, Matthew K.  Illustrated by Osnaya, Ricardo.
Grades 2-4
ISBN 1-4342-1988-6. HC $26.99 ISBN 9781434227768 $6.95 pbk
c2011. 72 pages

There is nothing new in this classic tale, unless of course, you’ve never heard or read it before.  Simply retold so that it is accessible to young or struggling readers, this will appeal to anyone looking for tales from afar.  Ali Baba witnesses thieves opening up a cave and adding riches to an abundance of golden treasures.  Struggling for money, he can’t resist taking some with him.  Unfortunately, his brother Kasim finds out and when he goes to the cave he is caught by the thieves and murdered.  The thief looks to find out who the second intruder is and finds out it is Ali Baba. The thief devises a clever attack plan, but it is thwarted by Marjam, the servant girl.

The artwork is adequate, giving readers a sense of Persian history and of the dress in the time the story takes place.  The colorful panels will keep reluctant readers’ eyes peeled to the page.  Libraries on a tight budget are better off purchasing the paperback version. Given its availability, this has its place in a library’s collection.  And parents looking to hook their young readers on the Arabian Nights will do well to introduce them through this series.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Capstone Publishers.

Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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