Delfi & Sunshine: Kazakh Fairytales
Region: Central Asia, Kazakhstan
Author: Usen Suleimenov; Nursulu Shaimerdenova
Original Language: Kazakh
Translator: Aitmatov Academy
Illustrator: Azhar Ramazanova
Character: Amrak, Delfi, Eclipse, Ray of Light, Shah Shokar, Shining, Sunshine, Truth
Descriptors: dolphins; gods; Kazakhstan; love; miracles; mortals; sunshine
Age: 8-12 years old
Delfi & Sunshine: Kazakh Fairytales is a collection of two Kazakh fairy tales about dolphins, “Ta from the House with the Silver Dolphin on the Door” and “Delfi and Sunshine.” The story “Delfi and Sunshine” is about a magical dolphin named Delfi, who has the ability to grant people health and happiness, and about his love for the daughter of the sun and the sky, Ray of Light, who granted him his powers. Although Delfi had always loved Ray of Light since childhood, she fell in love with the son of the night, Amrak, and married him instead. Gods and mortals alike attended their grand wedding, but the ocean’s creatures tried to warn everyone that it was a mistake. The two remained happily married for years until Eclipse put a spell over Amrak and locked Ray of Light away in a cave for many years. Ray of Light began to give up hope, but when Delfi realized what had happened, he went to visit her every day. Their love inspired Ray of Light to not give up and to break free of her prison. Rather than going back to the sky, Ray of Light went to Delfi and became a part of his soul, granting him his magical powers and beautiful shimmer. At its core, this story is about never giving up in the face of adversity and how important it is to show love and kindness to others. This fairy tale collection is a passion project dedicated to Azhar Ramazanova, the illustrator, and includes childhood illustrations by her and some of her sisters and nephews. These charming, colorful drawings often do not coincide with what is happening in the story, but they help break up the large chunks of text and are fun to look at. At times, the translation can feel a little awkward, but not enough to distract from the meaning of the story. Children between the ages of 8 to 12 years old will be entranced by these magical tales.
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Notes: For the purpose of this review, only one of the fairy tales, “Delfi and Sunshine,” in this collection has been read. This book contains some small typography errors that some readers may find distracting. To avoid awkward translation, librarians may consider retelling rather than reading the story verbatim, without changing the meaning and using illustrations extensively. This small collection was also made for friends and family of Azhar Ramazanova as a way to remember her. Although the creators say the book is for everyone, it still feels very personal while reading it and seeing all of her artwork throughout the collection.
Reviewed by Leah Byrnes