The Contest: An Armenian Folktale
Adapted and illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian
Format: 32 unnumbered pages; illus. (some color)
Age Range: 4-8 years
Publisher: New York: Greenwillow Press, 1976
An adaptation of an Armenian folktale about two robbers courting the same woman:
Two robbers, Hmayag and Hrahad, meet by accident under a pomegranate tree, each having decided it was time for lunch. To their amazement, they find their bokhjahs contain identical lunches. It does not take long before they discover that they are engaged to the same girl, Ehleezah, who, of course, prepared the food for each of them. Since neither robber is willing to give her up, they agree to hold a contest with Ehleezah as the prize. The one who proves himself the cleverer at his trade will be the winner. The resulting trials are truly a test of thieves. But the outcome is not what the robbers had intended, nor does the story end as the reader might expect.
Nonny Hogrogian has used the intricate, highly decorative motifs of Oriental rugs to frame her pictures, and has placed brilliant black and white drawings to create a dazzling stage set for Hmayag's and Hrahad's good-natured rivalry and skillful sleight of hand.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nonny Hogrogian, long a favorite children's book illustrator, has used the intricate, highly decorative motifs of Oriental rugs to frame her pictures, and has placed brilliant black and white drawings to create a dazzling stage set for Hmayag's and Hrahad's good-natured rivalry and skillful sleight of hand.
Hogrogian has twice been awarded the Caldecott medal for "the most distinguished picture book of the year": in 1966 for Always Room for One More and again in 1972 for One Fine Day, which she wrote as well as illustrated. Among the many outstanding books she has to her credit are Poems Here and Now (edited by David Kherdian), Handmade Secret Hiding Places, Rooster Brother, Once There Was and Was Not (retold by Virginia Tashjian), and About Wise Men and Simpletons: Twelve Tales from Grimm (translated by Elizabeth Shub). As in The Contest, she has found inspiration for a number of her books in her Armenian heritage. She was born in New York City and is a graduate of Hunter College, where she majored in art. She is married to the poet David Kherdian (whose books she often illustrates) and they live in upstate New York.