An intriguing picture book that focuses on this topic is Eric A. Kimmel’s, Joha Makes a Wish: A Middle Eastern Tale (Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2010). Eric, an award winning author, has published over 80 children’s books. Using a storytelling approach, he modifies classic folktales so that they appeal to a modern audience. He is a gifted writer who is able take his love of older tales and then magically transform the basic concepts into remarkable picture books that can be appreciated by all cultures.
The main character, Joha, finds a stick with a handwritten scroll hidden in a jar. The writing informs Joha that the stick is magical. It makes wishes come true. Most children would be delighted to be in possession of such an amazing object. Joha immediately makes requests.
At first, his wishes end up becoming disasters. The opposite of what he asked for became true. Frustrated by the outcome, Joha was angry and annoyed. A friendly and wise shopkeeper helped him identify the source of the problem. With the shopkeepers assistance, Joha was able to have his wishes come true. An unappreciative and greedy sultan used his power and wit to take the wishing stick from Joha. Without knowing the secret of the wishing stick, the sultan was doomed. None of his wishes came true.
Ommar Rayyan’s muted and whimsical illustrations take readers back in time. Ommar effectively illustrates Joha’s escapades by drawing pictures that show the effects of the wishing stick. Readers will be able to identify and contrast the moments of good judgment and foolishness.
- Geography- locate Middle East and Central Asia
- Vocabulary- sultan
- Identify genre- folktales
- Meaning of opposites
- Magic vs. reality
- Wisdom vs. foolishness
- Coping with the unexpected
- Positive and negative emotions
- Kindness vs. mean spirited
- Compare and contrast- characters’ traits
- Accepting our mistakes/errors in judgment
- If you came upon a magical stick, what would you wish for?