Open Diary: Reviews

Rebecca’s Review of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”


      ali baba arabic

             Like many other folk tales, the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, although originally told in a dark and more violent tone, was retold by author Enebor Attard to appeal more to children.  Attard is well known for writing Arabic children’s literature such as, “The Elves and the Shoemaker”, as well as writing alongside other authors such as Nasreen Aktar, author of “Samira’s Eid”. The illustrations done by Richard Holland help to create an outstanding visual for the readers and through his historical artistry he helps show children true Arabian culture. Holland defines each word by the images he illustrated and through his work imposes a view of Ali Baba as a great character.
Enebor Attard and Richard Holland collaborate into creating an incredibly brilliant children’s book that tells the story of a man named Ali Baba who stumbles upon a giant rock covering a hill which, to his surprise, revealed a dark cave. As he moved to approach the rock, he saw shadows that were shown through the light of the moon. These shadows were from a pack of horses waiting for their riders. As he moved closer he realized the men were a group of thieves waiting for their leader Ka-eed. Ka-eed surprised Ali Baba when he looked up to the sky and yelled “Sida ya simsim!” which translates to “close sesame”. At this point Ali Baba’s curiosity began to grow while he wondered, what was behind that rock. Once they were out of his sight he decided to see what was there but of course pushing the rock didn’t work so the only thing left for him to do was to reverse what Ka-eed had said and instead of close sesame, Ali Baba said “Ifta ya simsim!”  which means “open sesame” and the rock slowly rolled aside. This is where the entire meaning of the story comes into place mainly because Ali Baba performed as the thieves did and takes what he sees in the cave which is bundles of riches such as gold and diamonds.
My first thoughts when reading this was that Ali Baba was not any better than the thieves because he too was a thief now, but when I read more into the story I realized that Ali Baba’s purpose for the fortunes he had were not selfish. Although he was a poor man and became rich from this treasure, he also helped his people. The moral of the story is found when Ali Baba becomes a hero for saving his very jealous brothers body after he had been killed by the thieves. Also, Ali Baba is friended by a trustworthy young woman who informs him of the wrongdoings of the thieves and warns him of their plans to hurt him. Ka-eed and the thieves represented a bad storm that had rained upon Arabia and throughout the story Ali Baba removes that bad storm and creates happiness for his people as he shares the wealth.
I really enjoyed reading this story especially because it is themed in an Arabic form whether it be the illustrations or the language, it all showed Arabic culture and I really appreciated it. I would recommend “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, to children between the ages of 6-10 because of the lessons it is providing, which is even though one may be granted riches, that humility creates even more internal richness as well as the idea that friendship is a very valued asset to have.

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