Kindergarten Books > The Woodchopper – An Arabic Folktale

The Woodchopper – An Arabic Folktale

Text: Eyad Barghuthy / Illustrator: Omayma Dajani

A retelling of a classical Arabic folktale about a poor woodchopper who receives a magic pot from a genie, giving him the best food and a wheat grinder that produces silver coins. The woodchopper soon learns that it is not important how much you have but that you spend it wisely. This book was produced at the initiative of Maktabat al-Fanoos.

Family Activities

The story of the woodcutter is one of our well-known folktales. As in every story that passes orally through generations, it has many forms, which differ based on regions and narrators. In this book, we recover one of these formats in order to introduce our children to this beautiful literary genre.


Dear Parents,

Adults and children have always been attracted to such stories, because they make us use our imagination, and because they present us with interesting events that deal with the emotions, desires and concerns of people, and their relationships with each other. There are also great wisdoms in these folktales, which have come to us from the experiences of people over hundreds of years, and our children should be exposed to them.

This story allows us to have a conversation with our child about important moral values, such as diligence, hard work, and earning a living instead of relying on an illusory source of livelihood that may disappear at any moment.


Family Activities

  • We can talk about the title. Who is the woodcutter? How did people use wood in the past, and how do we use it today?
  • We can chat about the behavior of the woodcutter with his neighbors. Would we act like him? If we were his neighbors, would we do what they did, why?
  • Who are the “wondrous people of the well?” Which other fictional characters do we know from recent children’s movies or books?
  • The book contains drawings of familiar aspects from our Arab towns and villages, like decorated doors, olive trees and cacti. We can search for them in our neighborhood with our child.
  • We can look at the painting on pages 24-25 together, and search for drawings of architectural and natural landmarks that distinguish the three towns visited by the woodcutter: Nazareth, Tiberias, and Akko. It would be fun to look for pictures of these landmarks, and it would be even nicer to visit them on a family trip.
  • Every ancestral home had a well and a mill. It is nice to introduce our children to them, whether they are in our family home or in a museum close to where we live.
  • Let’s go to the kitchen with our child and prepare food or desserts from our popular Arabic kitchen.
  • Enjoy your reading!

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