The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
The Land of Green Ginger
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Noel Langley's pantomime-esque adventure story is reprinted in its 'much-celebrated longer text' for a new edition included in Faber's list of children's classics.
The fate of Abu Ali, son of Aladdin, is sealed when he unexpectedly speaks his first words at one day old. That the words are 'button-nosed tortoise' single him out as the one destined to break the spell that traps a cursed magician in the body of the aforementioned tortoise, and restore him to his former shape.
Abu Ali must journey to find the floating 'land of green ginger', but he's not the only one on a mission to catch something unattainable... Two foolish Princes, the wicked Prince Tictac Ping Foo of Persia and the wantonly wicked Prince Rubdub Ben Thud of Arabia, mistake Abu Ali's quest as a challenge for the hand of the beautiful (and rich) Silver Bud of Samarkand and set out to thwart him at every opportunity. But with a pure heart, a talking mouse and a tiny Djinni on his side, Abu Ali's noble mission cannot fail.
Neil Gaiman is a self-professed fan of this madcap story and its zany banter may well have influenced the comedy of his fairytale writing. Langley's knowing narrator will tickle any adult reading aloud, while children will marvel at the extraordinary cast of daft characters and their blundering escapades.
The hilarious conversation pieces long to read aloud, and would make a brilliant stage play. This could be a family favourite in the truest sense, well done to Faber for tracking down the full text of the mysterious Land of Green Ginger, which was in danger of floating out of reach forever!