Riding a Donkey Backwards: Wise and Foolish Tales of Mulla Nasruddin

Written by Sean Taylor and the Khayaal Theater
Illustrated by Shirin Adl

Subtle and wry humor are the hallmarks of this re-telling of this delightful collection of Middle Eastern folk tales. It affords the reader the opportunity to learn about this area of the world and help tie that world together. Mixed media illustrations perfectly pair with the stories.

A series of tales show how impish Nasruddin, a wise yet foolish thirteenth century man, could be. No matter the situation, he found a way to turn it back on the other person involved or to make everything seem perfectly logical. For example, he helped out a weary traveler by stealing his bag and running to his destination. (He got him where he was going and made him happy to get his bag back!) When offered a gold coin or a larger silver coin of lesser value, he took the silver coin every time. Incredulous townspeople tested this by giving him the same choice. He said he wouldn’t take the gold coin because then people would stop giving him money. When asked why he rode his donkey backwards, he said it was the donkey who was backwards.

The stories are a bit long for independent reading before third grade but would be fun to read together with first graders.

Riding a Dinkey2

  • Title: Riding a Donkey Backwards: Wise and Foolish Tales of Mulla Nasruddin
  • Author: Sean Taylor and the Khayaal Theater
  • Illustrator: Shirin Adl
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2019
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Folk Tales
  • ISBN: 978-1-5362-0507-7

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