Azizi and the Little Blue Bird by Laila Koubaa & Mattias De Leeuw.
A mystical fairytale from the land of the crescent moon with a culture much different from our own, yet the problems found by the people of this culture are universal. Such books are valuable as they bring us together because of the sameness that all peoples of the world have which are often ignored or brushed over by the Media and by politicians.
It begins with young boy, Azizi, relaxing in an orange tree in a country that still exists today. There are palm trees and camels and the blue bird is a special bird. Azizi’s father is forcibly hanging portraits of the two tyrants Tih and Reni on his living room wall while the tyrants gorge themselves silly off the fat of the land at the expense of their people. not only that they have captured all the bluebirds in the land and imprisoned them in the palace thus depriving the people of a thing of beauty.
Then a blue dird escapes, flies through the window of Azizi’s house and together they bring freedom to their land. Impressive stuff.
Pen and ink illustrations are combined with pastel colours to create and Arabic world and show the bloated leaders in contrast to the ordinary people. A hopeful ending.
A sophisticated picture book that demands discussion. Written on several levels from junior story to deeper cultural, economic and political issues.