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The Foolish Men of Agra

By Rina Singh

Illustrated by Farida Zaman

From Kirkus Reviews

Singh retells ten enchanting tales of ancient India and in doing so, presents a culture widely overlooked by many children in the US. In swift, clear language, readers are introduced to brief fables that don't over-moralize. The Mogul emperor, Akbar, is enlightened by the tales of his clever friend and minister, Birbal. Whether Birbal is outsmarting his jealous enemies or saving Akbar from his own foolishness, the stories are consistently amusing, but also convey the loyalty and affection of the two friends. Zaman's ornate illustrations perfectly convey the rich colors and culture of India through portraits of characters, snippets of scenes, and decorative chapter openers and closers. An informative introduction places all of the tales into historical perspective, and a helpful glossary concludes the collection, making it all the more accessible.

It's tough being Akbar, emperor of Agra. What would you do if one of your servants brought you bad luck simply by showing his face first thing in the morning? What if none of your courtiers knew a bed-time story good enough to make you fall asleep? What if you wanted someone to compile a list of all the fools in your kingdom? Well, without help, things would be difficult indeed. 

Luckily, Akbar has Birbal, his wisest minister and dearest friend. Birbal always helps the emperor make the right decisions, and together they are an unbeatable pair, foiling their enemies and answering life's more perturbing questions. 

Drawn from the traditional tales of Mogul India and skillfully retold by Rina Singh, "The Foolish Men Of Agra" is a collection of ten delightfully funny and poignant stories. The stunning illustrations by Farida Zaman draw inspiration from the mosaic style of the grand mogul palaces, and perfectly capture the spirit and charm of these enchanting tales. 

(Folklore. 6-10) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. 

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