March 29, 2016

the land of green ginger

Buckle your magic flying carpets, my lovelies, because I'm going to get shouty today. I'm going to be using some BIG BOLD ALL CAPS strong language. 'The Land of Green Ginger' by Noel Langley and illustrated by the fantastic Edward Ardizzone provokes very strong emotions in me. Let me present the following notion to you......

I have now been reading books out loud to my daughter for ten years.

We read a lot.

We've read a LOT of books.

Would you care to know which book I consider our finest and best and funnest and coolest reading experience? Would you like to know which book Julia considers our finest and best and funnest and coolest reading experience?


That's right. This story is BY A MILE, the most fun we've had reading together. And we've had a lot of fun. I talked about this book in a round up post I did awhile back, about cool books you all should be reading, but I knew that this one deserved its own post. And finally here it is.

So what the big deal about it? Some books are great to read, and some are great to read OUT LOUD. This one is both. But it really really really shines most brightly if you read it out loud. I'm telling you. You will cry with laughter. This book is a party, stuffed in a Vegas showgirl costume (what??), put inside a surprise pinata full of candy and confetti, and then dunked in frosting. And then woven into a unicorn's mane. And then if you add rainbow sprinkles and Bruce Lee and maybe a British accent, like I decided to adopt for the mouse character......ONLY THEN can you get even close to HOW FLIPPING COOL this book is.

Yeah. I'm going there. This is the best of the best of the best. I love this book with all of my being, and so does my kiddo!

 So, why? Why with all the love? Because it's magical, and HYSTERICALLY FUNNY, and romantic, and adventurey, and Arabian Nights-ish, all in one book.

Here's the gist of the plot:

Alladin. Yes, THAT Alladin, is now Emperor of China. He has a son, who begins to speak as a newborn baby. The baby's name is Abu Ali and the Genie of the Lamp (yes, THAT genie) announces that the baby's destiny is to rescue a lost magician, who is stuck in the Land of Green Ginger (a magical floating garden) and who has accidentally turned himself into a button-nosed tortoise.

Once Abu Ali grows to manhood, off he goes to fulfill his destiny - and he also hopes to save, win, and marry the beautiful Silver Bud. Unfortunately, Abu Ali has rivals for the affections of Silver Bud - two wicked, dastardly princes are trying their best to thwart Abu Ali at every turn.

Hands down, the evil princes are the best thing about the story. Julia and I seriously choked with laughter, reading about these clowns. Wicked Prince Rubdub Ben Thud and Wicked Prince Tintac Ping Foo. OH THESE GUYS. They are so very very baaaaaaaad. And hilarious.

The names are brilliant all round. There's a guard named Kublai Snoo. Silver Bud's daddy is named Sulkpot Ben Nagnag.

But the best, the best the best the best!! The Genie of the Lamp also has a son, who becomes Abu Ali's best friend and ally - and his name is Boomalakka Wee. Trying saying that out loud. Boomalakka Wee.

There's also the assistant to the Wicked Princes - his name is Small Slave.

Are you getting it? Are you getting the humor? (Which is fabulously politically incorrect) The Wicked Princes spend every waking moment of their lives arguing with each other, when they aren't plotting the various ways they intend to kill poor Abu Ali.

The writer of this story is the mastermind behind a masterpiece of a different kind - Noel Langley was also the screenwriter of 'The Wizard of Oz'. I can't stress enough enough enough how snappy and WITTY the dialogue is in this book. And the black and white art of Edward Ardizzone is sly and spare - and yet it utterly enfolds you into another realm of enchanting whimsy.

So does Abu Ali win Silver Bud? Do the Wicked Princes get what's coming to them? Do magic carpets fly??

The humor is fairly sophisticated and I wouldn't even think of cracking this open for any kid under the age of 8. Best for ages eight through eleven.

Go go go GO. You must own this. I've linked the book four times, so there's no excuse. And don't just get it and hand it off to your kids. READ IT OUT LOUD. (Like I mentioned up above, I did the voice of the Mouse in a very high, girly, British accent. You don't have to do the same, but I just thought I'd throw that out there.)


  1. On to my list it goes (although I'll need to wait a bit until my kids age a little bit - boo)! It sounds like such fun.

    Also, your photo props are pretty neat!

    1. it is sooooo fun!! and so glad you liked my trinkets, ha ha ha. I was looking everywhere for Arabian Nights-ish stuff around the house!

  2. You have totally inspired me. It's in my Amazon cart. Next order, it will be ours!



  3. yayyyyyyyy! I'm high-fiving myself!

  4. Okay, I'm interested. Checking the library first...