An engaging literary cookbook that is a feast for the eyes, the heart, and the palate.



This charming third installment in the Fairy Tale Feasts Collection turns to the Middle East and North Africa.

In Marrakesh, Morocco, a young girl gets caught stealing apricots from a garden and wittily explains her way out of the situation. In Cairo, Egypt, a mean miser loses his hoard of money in a swift blow of poetic justice. A pourquoi story set near the Sahara Desert explains why chickens and ostriches cannot fly. This is just a sampling of the 14 original morality tales (not fairy tales, as the book’s title misleadingly promises) gathered here. The structure of the fables—a moral is stated at the end of each one—will feel familiar to both Arab and non-Arab readers. Each story incorporates alimentary motifs and themes and is followed by a complementary recipe from the Arab world; budding cooks will feel inspired to try making mehallabeyat qamaruddin, shish taouk, shorbit adas, and more. English translations of the names of the dishes are provided. The recipes—most of which require easily obtainable ingredients—are uncomplicated, with notes on substitutions and optional add-ins. With the inclusion of backmatter notes covering Arabic literary traditions, origins of the Arabic words used throughout the book, and bits of culinary history, there is much to be learned, even for readers familiar with Arab culture. Both stories and recipes are enhanced with folk art–style illustrations that add a traditional feel, but the dishes aren’t always portrayed accurately in the artwork.

An engaging literary cookbook that is a feast for the eyes, the heart, and the palate. (Fables/cookbook. 8-adult)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62371-908-1

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”


Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder.

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After being home-schooled for years, Auggie Pullman is about to start fifth grade, but he’s worried: How will he fit into middle school life when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 surgeries to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that has earned him such cruel nicknames as Freak, Freddy Krueger, Gross-out and Lizard face. Though “his features look like they’ve been melted, like the drippings on a candle” and he’s used to people averting their eyes when they see him, he’s an engaging boy who feels pretty ordinary inside. He’s smart, funny, kind and brave, but his father says that having Auggie attend Beecher Prep would be like sending “a lamb to the slaughter.” Palacio divides the novel into eight parts, interspersing Auggie’s first-person narrative with the voices of family members and classmates, wisely expanding the story beyond Auggie’s viewpoint and demonstrating that Auggie’s arrival at school doesn’t test only him, it affects everyone in the community. Auggie may be finding his place in the world, but that world must find a way to make room for him, too.

A memorable story of kindness, courage and wonder. (Fiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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