Eleanor Hoffmann, Mischief in Fez

(2014-04-25 003)Title: Mischief in Fez

Author: Eleanor Hoffmann; illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg

Publication Information: [No place]: Published by the heirs of Eleanor Hoffmann on createspace, [2013?], c1943.

Library of Congress Classification: PZ8.H67

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Sons—Juvenile fiction
Jinn—Juvenile fiction
Fathers—Juvenile fiction
Good and evil—Juvenile fiction
Fennec—Juvenile fiction
Fès (Morocco)—Juvenile fiction

Mischief in Fez is a wonderful children’s book. Published in 1943, the author travelled for many years before arthritis slowed her down. She then took up writing children’s books.

This story takes place in Fez, Morocco, while there was a sultan and there were no technological advancements. Mousa is an only child of the honored judge Mohammed Ali. Ali is known for his fairness and honesty. Loualou is his nurse from the Niger. All is well until his father decides to bring home a new wife. (Mousa’s mother died many years before.) She brings with her a beautiful gazelle.

Strange things begin to happen. There’s a plague of scorpions, then the orange tree in the courtyard is uprooted and moved. People see Mousa doing bad things, so everyone turns against him; no one no believes Mousa. Loualou sends Mousa to the market to find a holy man. Only a holy man can tell Mousa how to get rid of djinns, evil spirits from the desert who are in league with Satan and only wish to harm humans. From him Mousa learns how to contact good djinns to help his family and the household. And thus the adventure begins.

Jackie at the Silver Tips Tea Room loves this book. She read it as a child and wanted to get a copy of it. Unfortunately, it is out of print; copies now go for quite a bit of money. Here’s an example of “ask and ye shall receive.” Jackie emailed Amazon.com to see if the book could be released as an ebook. It was, and for $3 you can get the book with all the black and white illustrations.

The book is charming and will teach children about another culture. It was a fun read.

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