Mischief in Fez, by Eleanor Hoffmann

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Mischief in Fez, by Eleanor Hoffmann

Mischief in Fez, by Eleanor Hoffmann

Mischief in Fez, by Eleanor Hoffmann

PDF Download Mischief in Fez, by Eleanor Hoffmann

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Mischief in Fez, by Eleanor Hoffmann

“ This is a tale of djinns, – of their mischief and their magic in the Moroccan city of Fez.” The 14th century city of Fez entertains and informs young readers through action set in the palace, mosque, and market place in a tale of adventure and delicious danger to the household of Mohammed Ali and his son Mousa. First published in 1943, this extraordinary story blends the exotic traditions of a Moroccan household with ancient legends of spirits, both good and bad. Who is the mysterious bride with her pet gazelle? When the fountain stops, the orange tree is bare, and scorpions appear, the household in Fez is unsettled. More mischief is on its way….

  • Sales Rank: #1062621 in Books
  • Published on: 2013-02-27
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.00″ h x .21″ w x 6.00″ l, .30 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 92 pages

About the Author
Eleanor Hoffmann graduated from Radcliffe College the same year the country entered WWI. She did her part for the war by becoming a “farmerette” in Massachusetts for the Women’s Land Army, running a diary for a farmer enlisted in the war. When he returned, she spent a year teaching High School Latin and French in Chapel Hill, NC. After studying Botany at the University of North Carolina, she traveled the State overseeing landscaping projects that introduced native plants around high schools. Today, native plants are recognized as a useful conservation practice, but it was a concept still in its infancy in the early 1920s. The next three years she spent teaching Botany, Latin, and French at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, one of the first black colleges in America. Eleanor began her world travels in 1924, supporting herself by buying Moroccan tribal rugs for customers in the United States. She was a pioneer doing business as a single woman in a traditional Islamic culture. Eleanor developed a crippling form of arthritis in 1932, and returned to her family in Santa Barbara, California. During the next 21 years, she wrote 16 books for children. Her themes included ancient Morocco, Bedouin life, and adventure stories involving animals.

Most helpful customer reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
A magical read!
By book lover
I LOVED this book when I was a child!!! It was one of my all time favorites and I read and reread it so many times. The magical story of the djinns, the fennec fox, and the beautiful old city of Fez completely captured my imagination. I’m really thrilled that this book is now available for a whole new generation of readers. I reread it again recently and found it just as charming and delightful. Even though it was written a long time ago, the prose is still fresh and undated. I know young readers today will enjoy it just as much as I did.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
One of the “Best-Kept Secret” Children’s Classics of All Time
By JordanJasper
Like many readers and reviewers, I was first introduced to Eleanor Hoffmann’s marvelous and exquisitely magical ‘Mischief in Fez’ via a collection of volumes that were supplementary to my father’s stodgy old Colliers Encyclopedia set. The multi-colored adjunct collection was meant for children and appropriately titled “The Young Folks’ Shelf of Books.” Each volume gathered a panorama of international children’s fairy tales, poems, myths, fables, short stories, folklore and other various works –famous and not-so-famous– and grouped the material in thematic anthologies. ‘Mischief in Fez’ was published in the “green volume,” which was called ‘Magic in the Air.’ I’ll never forget the endless hours of reading pleasure occasioned by the presence of these excellent books in our home, and it is a singular stroke of good fortune that the editors selected ‘Mischief in Fez’ for inclusion. Indeed, this gorgeous little tale might otherwise have been forgotten altogether, having been published in the early 1940s and out-of-print by the late 1960s, when Colliers produced their children’s compendium.

Frankly, the Colliers children’s books (like the encyclopedias) were already quite old and dusty by the time my interest was ensnared in the early 1980s, but ‘Mischief in Fez’ was far and away my favorite of all the featured stories. I am not exaggerrating when I state that no other children’s tale ever captured my imagination quite the way this one did, with its winsomely exotic Morroccan setting, mesmerizing characters, and truly breathtaking little plot. You just got lost and transported … and you loved every minute of it! Of course, the story was all the more compelling because its hero, Mousa, is a little boy caught-up in the troubles that ensue when his wealthy household in the ancient city of Fez is enchanted by the power of meddling djinns. Mousa is a wonderful character — too old to be pampered by his father’s servants and yet still too young to be taken seriously by anyone, which makes him a magnetic narrative presence for any child who delves into his world. In order to rescue his beloved father and all the other harried adults from calamity, Mousa is obliged to take matters into his own hands and fight magic with magic, forging a risky alliance with the kindly djinns whose business it is to undo the mischief of their malevolent peers.

This highly original and fast-paced story is loaded with things that children will absolutely love: shape-shifting creatures both frightening and companionable; secret spells; mystical locales; and a number of plot twists that will keep the attentive young reader breathless with interest and anticipation. Honestly, adults will get a kick out of it, too. I know I still do. Hoffmann’s storytelling skills were nothing short of brilliant within this framework; her voice is endearingly classic and traditional, while her style is never anything less than accessible. She weaves a tale as if you were perched at her knee, the wondrous tapestry of Mousa’s adventure with Baha the fennec unfolding before your very eyes. As a sumptuous bonus, ‘Mischief in Fez’ is enhanced with several lavish illustrations by the great Fritz Eichenberg, whose dark but whimsical drawings will captivate little minds and inspire a real sense of wonder.

Obviously, I cannot recommend this work highly enough. Hoffman’s book is easily on par with contemporary classics like Neil Gaiman’s enchanting ‘Coraline,’ which shares a number of overarching themes and motifs with ‘Fez.’ It is a happy thing to know that the story has survived the test of time almost solely due to its worthy inclusion in the classic Colliers volumes, longstanding word-of-mouth, and the fond memories of those for whom ‘Mischief in Fez’ was a simply unforgettable tale that brings us back to the comfort and joy of magical childhood. (You ALL know who you are!) Eleanor Hoffmann will always and forever be a hallowed name in my library and in my home. I am grateful to her for writing such a beguiling little masterpiece so long ago and equally delighted that her heirs (who have published this edition) have kept the light of this radiant story alive for future generations. Buy this for your kids to read and, better yet, join in the fun by reading it to them: they’ll be awestruck.

‘Mischief in Fez’ is one of the “Best Kept-Secret” children’s classics of all time … a rare gem that will be passed along with enduring pride in your family for generations to come.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
Magic Realism At Its Best
By Radnor
This is a delightful book–a delicately wrought fantasy, the essence of magic realism. It is the tale of a Moroccan boy led on mystical adventures by a fennec — a desert fox. I read Fez an untold number of times in the 4th grade; remembered it fondly over the decades; luckily found a library copy a few years ago and read it with pleasure once again. I can safely state that (in my case at least) Ms. Hoffmann’s book is for readers of all ages — from 10 years to senior citizens. I should also state that lodged in my memory through the years, Fez informed my own writing. I thank Ms. Hoffmann for that as well. It was a pleasant mystery to me how an early-20th Century American woman could have such knowledge of Moroccan culture. Fortunately her heirs have now republished this little masterpiece. In so-doing they provide information I always suspected: The author was a uniquely adventurous spirit. She traveled alone in North Africa in the 1920s supporting herself by purchasing tribal rugs and “was a pioneer doing business as a single woman in a traditional Islamic culture.” The book’s illustrations by Fritz Eichenberg, are delicate line drawings in perfect harmony with the text. Eichenberg was an adventurous spirit in his own right. A left wing graphic artist opposed to the Nazis, he fled Hitler’s Germany and made his way to New York. There he taught at The New School — and provided the fine drawings for Fez. I have just ordered the new paperback and look forward to sharing it with children and grandchildren and friends. Hmmm… maybe I need a few copies.

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