Review: The Arabian Nights Entertainments

The Arabian Nights EntertainmentsThe Arabian Nights Entertainments
by Andrew Lang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Arabian Nights / 0-486-22289-6

This is not a complete compilation of the classic 'Arabian Nights' tales, but rather several select tales, and has been heavily abridged for children readers. Much of the sexual and bawdy content has been taken out (although there's still a pretty hefty dead body count), largely by heavily editing chunks of the story out of existence. This can be rather baffling, as some of the stories haven't been "edited" so much as left with huge gaps. As such, when I read these stories as I child, I was fascinated but deeply confused at the lack of any kind of resolution in several of the stories. Having read the "adult" 'Arabian Nights' tales since then, that confusion has been cleared up.

This is not a bad adaptation for children, but I would have preferred a more carefully edited version, rather than one with somewhat sloppy cuts that left me, even as a child, aware that something was missing. Still, this is a good introduction to children of the magic of the Arabian Nights tales, and this book will be a well-loved addition to any child's library.

~ Ana Mardoll

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