In the Meadow of Fantasies
by Hadi Mohammadi and Illustrated by Nooshin Safakhoo
Translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili
Genre: Children’s Books On Disability
In The Meadow of Fantasies By Hadi Mohammadi with illustrations by Nooshin Safakhoo is a lovely Iranian fairytale which has been translated from Persion into English by Sara Khalili. Somehow, my other book reviews got on the radar of Elsewhere Editions publishing company and they were kind enough to send a hardback copy of the book to me for my reading pleasure.
I am really glad they did because this beautiful folktale about the fantasies of a wheelchair bound girl really touched my heart. The young one dreams of a group of seven vibrantly colored majestic horses and the gifts that they offer to each other and to the world. One horse, you see, is not like the others and it, too, has dreams of its own. That dream is to be like the others. This is something the girl can easily relate to.
In her mind play, she is as free as the frolicking horses, able to run and jump with no constraints. She also participates in their kindness and generosity to each other, and this gives her hope for the future.
This is a lighthearted, repetitive read that most children will adore. It will also help them learn to count to seven – a number which is thought by many to have magical properties.
My favorite lines in the book are, “They were seven horses that had and did not have seven dreams and fantasies.
The first horse fancied itself the fastest steed on the planet.
The second horse fell in love with a tree that cast the broadest shade.
The third horse’s world became a stream teeming with fish, large and small.
The fourth horse dreamed of nothing but moons and stars.
The fifth horse created a lush, green universe for itself.
The sixth horse daydreamed of a young girl gazing at it through the window of her fantasies.
The young girl read the sixth horse’s mind and a smile spread across her lips.
She wondered, What about the seventh horse? Why does it not have any dreams?”
The illustrator, Nooshin Safakhoo, has a very unique and fanciful way of visualizing horses and their environment. The colors are bright but not overbearing…all are soft natural shades evoking the feeling of being in the middle of a forest even when in the young girl’s bedroom.
Here are a couple of my favorite Illustrations from the book.
The translator, Sara Khalili, perfectly captured the feel of a grandmother spinning this tale for her little ones. It is definitely a very enjoyable “must read” for you and yours.
About the Author, Illustrator and Translator
Hadi Mohammadi, a celebrated Iranian children’s book writer, researcher, and critic, has published more than forty novels and picture books for children and young adults. Many of his stories focus on social themes: peace, justice, nature and friendship. He was nominated for a Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2006 and in 2021, In the Meadow of Fantasies was selected for IBBY’s Collection for Young People with Disabilities.
Beloved Iranian illustrator Nooshin Safakhoo was born in Tehran in 1980. After teaching, she began a long career of painting precise, lyrical images for children’s books, including The Owl & The Jaybird and Shahname. In the Meadow of Fantasies has earned her numerous awards, including a NAMI Concours Prize. Nooshin has been selected three times to show her work at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
Sara Khalili is an editor and translator of contemporary Iranian literature. Her translations include Moon Brow and Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour, The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons by Goli Taraghi, The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee, Kissing the Sword by Shahrnush Parsipur , and Rituals of Restlessness by Yaghoub Yadali.
Elsewhere Editions is an imprint of Archipelago Books and is devoted to translating luminous works of children’s literature from around the world.