“Once upon a time in Turkey there lived a funny, little wise man named Nasrettin Hoca. He wore a huge, white turban and a worn-out coat made of patches upon patches. Riding about on his little gray donkey, he liked to help whomever he could.”
When Nasrettin sets out to visit a friend who’s having a banquet, he encounters a caravan getting wrecked by a frisky goat. Because he stops to help, Nasrettin finds he doesn’t have time to change his dirty clothes before visiting his friend. He finally arrives, but instead of the friendly, cheerful welcome he expects, he is ignored. Nasrettin slips out and returns, this time wearing an elegant silk coat. The host promptly invites him in and gives him all the fine food previously denied him. But Nasrettin has a trick up his sleeve; he starts to feed his coat instead of his belly! Children will love chanting the refrain “Eat, coat, eat” and as they participate in the story, they’ll understand what Nasrettin’s host should have: It’s wrong to judge a person by his clothes. Demi’s gorgeous paintings feature the motifs and colors of traditional Turkish art and brighten this lively tale featuring Turkey’s famous folk hero.
More Tales of Hospitality
Becker, Bonnie. A Visitor for Bear. Candlewick, 2008. A grumpy bear posts a “No visitors” sign outside his door. But a bright-eyed, friendly mouse keeps popping in and opens Bear’s eyes to his need for companionship.
Leodhas, Sorche. Always Room for One More. Illus. by Nonny Hogrogian. Caldecott Medal. Lachie MacLachlan lives in a “wee house in the heather” in Scotland, with his family of twelve. He always welcomes every weary traveler who wanders by in rough weather. His guests show their gratitude in a delightful way that continues to charm readers young and old.
Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie. Nora’s Ark. Harper-Collins, 2005. Based on the Vermont flood of 1927, the author tells a memorable story of how a girl’s grandparents welcome neighbors, chickens, ducks, pigs, a horse and a cow into their home on the hill as the waters rise and uproot their community. The humorous, detailed paintings by Caldecott Medal-winning artist Emily Arnold McCully evoke the dangers of the flood and the warmth of a kitchen filled with kind people and good cheer.
Muth, Jon. Stone Soup. Scholastic, 2003. Muth retells a beloved old French folktale and transports it to China. Instead of hungry soldiers, he features three monks who know the importance of community in making people happy. This picture book presents a feast for the eyes, heart and mind.
Ryan, Pam Munoz. Mice and Beans. As Rosa Maria prepares for a big family party, some mice are planning their own festivities. Even though Rosa Maria sets mouse traps, the mice save the day when they notice she forgot to stuff the piñata.
Rylant, Cynthia. The Relatives Came. Aladdin, 1993. It’s a full, full house every year when the relatives come bumping up from Virginia. When they leave at summer’s end, the beds feel “too big and too quiet.” Gammel’s lively illustrations capture the unbridled love and fun of the family get-togethers.