PW has published a review of A Donkey Reads, calling it “a fine introduction [for children] to the dozens of tales about Nasreddin, the legendary 13th-century wise man.” Indeed, the protagonist of the story, Nasreddin Hoca, an imam, a teacher, a judge who lived in the 13th century in Anatolia (now Turkey) is a celebrated historical figure, tales about him are widely read/told in Turkey and the Middle East. He is a sage, yet full of wit. In A Donkey Reads, Nasreddin teaches a donkey to read to save a poor villager, Mustafo from the tyrannic Mongol ruler. Muriel Mandell’s retelling of this tale is engaging: readers will learn the secret of a donkey reading, and therefore, “thoroughly enjoy watching the Mongol leader get his comeuppance”(PW). PW also praises the artwork: “Portuguese artist Letria paints figures in a naïf, folk-art style nicely suited to this traditional story; their movements are puppet-like, yet their expressions are convincing, even moving. Full-bleed spreads alternate with entertaining spot illustrations of rows of villagers or miniatures of their offerings to the Mongol leaders.”
A Donkey Reads is also Junior Library selection.