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Thank you Ferelith Hordon for a fabulous review of The Jackal Who Thought He Was a Peacock. This review is published in IBBY Link, spring 2016:

The Jackal Who Thought He Was a Peacock
The Jackal Who Thought He Was a Peacock

The Jackal who Thought he Was a Peacock

Fereshteh Sarlak, illus. Firoozeh Golmohammadi, trans. Azita Rassi, London: Tiny Owl, hb. 9 781 9103 2813 2, 2016, £12.99, 24pp. [Picture Book. Age range 6–8. Keywords: picture book, fable, Iran, anthropomorphism]

Tiny Owl has quickly acquired the reputation for beautifully produced picture books with distinctive content. They open the eyes to another culture, while emphasising the universal. A number of their titles look to Iranian stories for their inspiration. This title is no exception and will introduce children here to a fable of the great Iranian poet, Rumi. Here the retelling by Fereshteh Sarlak, we are told, expands the narrative, allowing the message to become clearer for a young audience. So we have a story about the futility of wishing to be something other than you are. This is a theme that has universal appeal and will be familiar. However the illustrations by Firoozh Golmohammadi introduce a very different visual experience; exotic, otherworldly, different. The palette is dark, colour saturated, the brilliance of the peacock feathers shining out. No wonder the jackal is so entranced. But just to ensure that we do not think this tale belongs to the past or to an unreal world inhabited by animals, the jackal, sporting a magnificent striped scarf, rides a bicycle of regal dimensions. It is this playfulness that offsets the sombre dreamlike background. It also enhances the text. This has been translated with great clarity by Azita Rassi, bringing it into the twentieth century.

The Jackal Who Thought He Was a Peacock
The Jackal Who Thought He Was a Peacock

Though children in the UK have a wealth of picture books to enjoy, a quick survey of the kinder boxes in libraries or the shelves in the bookshops suggests a certain uniformity of style; blandness even. Picture books such as this title are a welcome antidote, creating a sense of danger, of new possibilities, a challenge. Definitely one that should be in every library.

Ferelith Hordon

 

Buy The Jackal Who Thought He Was a Peacock here

More about this book:

  • Jackal’s crazy colour–splashing antics link
  • A review of this book by Red Reading Hub link
  • A review by Parents in Touch link

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