Set in Morocco a long, long time ago near the edge of the great Sahara, a young boy goes in search of water. But just as the city grew and grew and people forgot about the threat of the desert, people forgot about storytellers too.
This 44 page book weaves a tale of story within a story within a story, and combines different times in the past to illustrate how vital stories are to our existence. Much like the thirst that only water can quench, the human soul needs connections. With a Djinn threatening to cover the town in a sandstorm and the mysteries of the blue water bird, can a well told story really restore water and safety? Written on a 4.9 level this book could get a bit confusing to a struggling reader, or a child trying to keep everything straight. I found this book works best with kids that can get caught up in the story and the imagination of it all, without over thinking all the layers. It, like the story within the story suggests, works best to be listened too. There is a lot of text, but it is very soothing and engaging. The pictures are splendid, but in a dream like manner. The book works well with sleepy children listening to your voice and getting lost in the pictures, making a storyteller out of the reader, and proving the engaging power of a story. Second graders and up will enjoy listening to the story, and learning about desert life, and oral storytelling in lyrical way. There is no Islamic element other than the hijab wearing women in the pictures, and the mention of a djinn. There is is an author’s note at the end telling of the resurgent efforts of public storytelling in Morocco.
When a storyteller dies, a library burns-old Moroccan saying