The Land of Green Ginger

This beloved classic is a funny, clever, and original novel that opens with Aladdin – now Emperor of China – trying to decide what to name his son, a child who won’t stop talking and is already far too articulate for his own good. The Genie of the Lamp announces that Abu Ali should be the child’s name and that his destiny is to rescue the magician who created the Land of Green Ginger – a sort of fabulous floating garden – and then turned himself into a Button-Nosed Tortoise by mistake. Abu Ali is told he is the only one who can find the peripatetic island, locate the Button-Nosed Tortoise, and reverse the spell. And so begins a series of adventures that invoke a memorable cast of characters, some despicable, some feckless, and some (no surprise) beautiful and feisty.

It’s all here – Flying Carpets, Green Dragons, Magic Phoenix Birds, Boomalakka Wee, the dysfunctional infant son of the Genie of the Lamp, the displaced mouse who was supposed to have been a donkey, even Omar Khayyam himself. It all adds up to a fantastical tale of adventure and mayhem, fabricated by the screenwriter of The Wizard of Oz and illustrated by the inimitable and beloved Edward Ardizzone.

The Land of Green Ginger was first published in 1937, revised and expanded in 1966, and republished again in 1975, the text on which this edition is based.

One of the great children’s books!
Joshua Glenn, The Boston Globe

What makes this familiar hero-undergoing-ordeals-to-win-pretty-girl plot unusually fun are the absurd supporting characters…and the skilled, playful writing.
Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal

[The Land of Green Ginger] is the perfect read-aloud anti-depressant. I am very very very very pleased to announce that it is now in print in this country, in a lovely edition. . . and I must say that the pleasures of the book are in the language: Whether or not you are a fan of magic carpets and button-nosed tortoises, you will know that you need this book as soon as I tell you that one of the chief villain’s lines is, “This isn’t About Cheating at Chess, is it? Because I adore Cheating at Chess; I shall Continue to Cheat at Chess; and if you Dare Try to Stop Me, I shall put Glue in your Beard.
Ellen Kushner

Noel Langley was born in 1911 in South Africa and became a Broadway playwright as well as an author and screenwriter. His most famous screenplay was The Wizard of Oz, but he also wrote the scripts for Scrooge, Ivanhoe and The Prisoner of Zenda. He wrote for both children and adults, and died in California in 1980.

Edward Ardizzone, born in 1900 in French Indochina, became a war artist during World War II. He illustrated more than twenty children’s books including classics by Dickens, Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas and Christianna Brand’s Nurse Matilda series.