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Fatima the Spinner and the Tent - La Hilandera Fatima y La Carp
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Shah first published this version of an 18th-century Turkish tale in his Tales of the Dervishes (Penguin, 1993). It is the story of Fatima, daughter of a prosperous spinner, who is involved in three disasters. When a shipwreck leaves her washed up on a beach, she is taken in by a family of weavers. She learns their trade, only to be captured by slavers, who sell her to a mast-builder. Entrusted to accompany a cargo to market, the girl survives another shipwreck off the coast of China, where she is welcomed by townspeople as the female stranger of legend who would make a tent for the Emperor. She is delivered to the palace, where she uses her skills to complete the task by spinning flax into ropes; weaving some sturdy cloth; and carving tent poles, finally realizing her wish for happiness. The story fulfills the requisites of a folktale-a strong main character, three misfortunes, the completion of a seemingly impossible task, and the granting of a wish. Delmar's finely detailed paintings incorporate a variety of Middle Eastern and Chinese designs, both within the pictures and in borders surrounding text boxes. Several spreads are panoramas that have amazing depth. An endpaper map shows the path of Fatima's travels. Although some aspects of the plot are weaker than the protagonist's strength of character, children will relate to the positive lesson about making the best of one's misfortunes. - School Library Journal Retold by the late Afghan author Shah, this folktale has been beautifully illustrated by Delmar in richly colored, highly detailed pictures that evoke the story's Sufi traditions. With her father, Fatima starts off on a sea voyage in search of a husband. When her father dies in a shipwreck near Alexandria, a family of weavers takes her in and teaches her its craft. Then she is captured by slavers; she survives once again, and learns to build masts. After several other disasters, she settles in China, where she teaches the people all she has learned and also finds love and happiness. The words and pictures stay true to the story's roots, even as they celebrate a timeless protagonist who survives a perilous journey and makes a satisfying life. Clear maps on the endpapers show Fatima's world travels. - Booklist, American library Association Fatima The Spinner And The Tent is based on a classical "Teaching-Story" well known in Greek folklore - this particular version is attributed to Sheikh Mohamed Jamaludin of Adrianople (modern-day Edirne). Fatima the Spinner and the Tent is the tale of a woman who seems beset with one disaster after another as she travels from Morocco to the Mediterranean, Egypt, Turkey, and finally China. It is in China that she realizes the that what seemed to be terrible misfortune was in fact a valuable part of her life and her path to fulfillment, for in the course of her journey she learned the skills that would serve her well in her hour of greatest need. A story of wisdom and hidden depth, recommended for bedtime reading and children's library collections. - Midwest Book Review

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