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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
In the Meadow of Fantasies
by Hadi Mohammadi
Age Range: 6-8
Seven white horses appear to be galloping as they dangle from a mobile in mid-air while a young girl, lies on her bed gazing intently up at them. Soon these horses have come to life as her imagination sores. Each horse is a different colour except for the seventh horse which has no colour at all. Soon a large bathing pool appears in which the six horses are frolicking as they splash around in their own-coloured water while the girl pushes the seventh horse off the diving board – “Now the seventh horse was of every colour”. As the story progresses the seventh horse is always cared for whether it’s being provided with a home or beautiful dreams.
Iranian author Hadi Mohammadi has created a wonderful flight of imagination, translated from Persian by Sara Khalili, that is a mix of part poem and part folk tale. Its dream-like quality with a lyrical and simple repetitive narrative along with the appealing illustrations by Nooshin Safakhoo makes this beautiful story one to savour. Safakhoo’s use of a subtle muted colour palette and black line drawings provides depth and is enhanced by the colour as it gradually builds up through the pages.
The girl, like the seventh horse, is also devoid of colour being rendered in black and white with only a brief reference to her disability – the red braces she is wearing and a wheelchair only partially visible on the first page.
In the Meadow of Fantasies is an unusual magical tale with a richness that evokes ancient Persian literature. It’s about dreaming, imagination, and caring for others.
Honor Book Mildred Bachelder Award 2022