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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
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***Wishing Moon

by Michael O. Tunnell

Reviewed December 20, 2004.
Dutton Children’s Books, New York, 2004.  266 pages.

Aminah is completely out of luck.  Her father used to work as a scholar for the Sultan.  Since his death, Aminah has been living on the streets, and she’s not sure she’ll last much longer.  She decides to appeal to the princess, the wife of the mysterious Aladdin.  After all, Aminah’s father worked for the princess’s father.  Surely the heart of a woman is soft.

But the Princess Badr Al-Budur’s heart is not soft like that of other women.  Instead of giving Aminah bread or a job in the palace, she throws an old lamp at Aminah, striking her forehead.

When Aminah wakes up, she tries to polish the lamp and of course discovers the secret of the jinni.  The book that follows tells of Aminah’s adventures with the lamp.  Borrowing from the limitation of wishes inserted into the tale by Disney, this book stipulates that the bearer of the lamp can have three new wishes each full moon.

After she betters her own situation, Aminah begins to want to share her good fortune.  She wants to help someone else, if only she could find someone who’s worthy.  There are some interesting repercussions to her attempts.  At first, the jinni gets ill, since jinnis aren’t designed to do good deeds.  Of course, in everything she does, she must be sure to avoid attracting the attention of the princess, who is looking for Aminah and the lamp.

I like this tale, telling of a good-hearted person who discovers powerful magic and the difficulties she faces in trying to do what’s right.  I thought Aminah’s challenges might have been a little bigger, but I still thought it a good story.  There’s a touch of romance for older readers, but Wishing Moon will appeal to a wide age range, to anyone who ever wondered what might have become of the lamp after Aladdin’s wife lost it.

Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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