Arzoumanian, Alik

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Arzoumanian, Alik


Born in Beruit, Lebanon; married. Education: Massachusetts College of Art, B.F.A. (illustration).


Home and office—Cambridge, MA. E-mail—[email protected].


Children's book illustrator and elementary-school art teacher. Freelance illustrator for advertising and editorial companies.


Hester Thompson Bass, So Many Houses, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Margaret Read MacDonald, Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!: A Palestinian Folktale, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2006.


Although Alik Arzoumanian has contributed her illustration talent to a variety of industries, including the advertising and publishing markets, her chief interest is centered on creating art for children's books. Arzoumanian's unique illustrations are created with acrylic paint using a layering technique in which the opaque paint is applied to gessoed hardboard panels. As noted on her home page, the artist's work is inspired by Armenian, Persian, and East Indian illuminated manuscripts. The Near-Eastern influence present in Arzoumanian's work is clearly displayed in her illustrations for Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!: A Palestinian Folktale, a children's narrative retold by Margaret Read MacDonald.

The story MacDonald relates in Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur! commences when a woman prays to Allah and wishes for a child to care for. In her desperate plea, the explains that she will be content even if that child were "nothing more than a cooking pot." Literally granted her wish, the woman is blessed with a red cooking pot that displays human-like characteristics such as emotion and speech. The pot—a "tunjur" in Arabic—at first rattles around its new home, but it quickly becomes restless and begs to be let out to explore the outside world. When its adopted mother reluctantly grants the pot's wish, the tunjur immediately heads to the local market, where its mischievous nature soon reveals itself. At first the pot tricks a merchant into filling it up with honey, then quickly rolls its stolen booty home; on a second outing the pot comes home with a wealth of kingly jewels, obtained through the same trickery. Refusing to make good on its thefts, the pot ultimately finds itself on the receiving end of a particularly dirty trick, and decides to remain at home until it learns the difference between right and wrong.

In reviewing Arzoumanian's illustrations for Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!, several critics observed that the artist's work enhances the cultural tone of MacDonald's entertaining text. Booklist reviewer Gillian Engberg commented that Arzoumanian's "richly hued, stylized acrylics, bordered with Islamic motifs, add subtle cultural detail," while a Publishers Weekly critic praised the illustrator for her ability to "pay homage to Arabic visual traditions—particularly mosaic art" through her jeweltoned, stylized images.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, March 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!: A Palestinian Folktale, p. 96.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2006, review of Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!, p. 294.

Publishers Weekly, January 30, 2006, review of Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!, p. 68.

School Library Journal, April, 2006, Miriam Lang Budin, review of Tunjur! Tunjur! Tunjur!, p. 128.


Alik Arzoumanian Home Page, (February 10, 2007).

Marshall Cavendish Web site, (February 10, 2007), "Alik Arzoumanian."