Written by Wafa Tarnowska & Illustrated by Nilesh Mistry
Barefoot Books, 2008
Review by Laila Lacy
The Seven Wise Princesses: A Medieval Persian Epic is a translation of the 12th century Sufi-inspired epic poem, Haft-Paykar, originally written by the poet Nisami, one of the most famous poets of the time and region.
Visualize a mystical world of fierce creatures, noble and valiant heroes, heinous villains, and dazzling princesses who bestow divine insight through magnificent tales. This is the land and time in which the story The Seven Wise Princesses is set.
It’s the story of an ancient ruler’s rise to power and subsequent expansion in consciousness as he learns valuable lessons in piety, patience, honesty, and other virtues from the stories told to him by seven distinct princesses. The adventurous tales are loaded with vivid descriptions of natural phenomena so detailed and graphic that I could almost taste the food, smell the flowers, and hear the music being described.
Elementary school-aged children will enjoy the stories of action and adventure, while learning about ancient cultures and ethical concepts.
The symbolic use of numbers, colors, and nature throughout the stories adds layers of understanding to make this a book that older children and adults will enjoy over and over.