I love old myths and fairy tales. I grew up on the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, but also on the tales of the Arabian Nights. Being retold and rewritten countless times over untold years, they create a strange tapestry of cultural connections. They aren’t historically accurate, or even internally consistent. They teach lessons, but sometimes those lessons are lost or contradictory. Sometimes they serve as a reminder that the Past is a country more foreign than any you could visit today.
With The Land of Green Ginger, Noel Langley, scriptwriter of “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) among others, takes his turn adding to the mythos of the Arabian Knights. He’s written a story about the child of Aladdin, Abu Ali, and his adventure to win the heart of a young lady. It is as much a witty and fun slice of early 20th Century storytelling as it is a tale of the Arabian Nights, and somehow that works wonderfully. While reading it, I could almost see a classic Disney animated film playing in my head.
There are many colorful characters and some wonderfully strange ideas. I think the book would be equally entertaining for adults and children. It’s definitely worth tracking down.
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