In the ancient Persian town of Saveh, three astronomers discover a star that fills the sky with a fiery light. Intrigued, they search through their scrolls and learn that the star heralds the birth of a remarkable baby. They set off to honor the child with precious gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. The child accepts the gifts and in return gives them a small stone. The men are puzzled by the seemingly worthless gift, until it reveals its power in a most unexpected manner.
This lyrical retelling of the ancient legend of the Magi, based on Persian versions told to Marco Polo, is perfectly complemented by Jude Daly’s exquisite illustrations.
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Dianne Hofmeyr collaborated with Jude Daly on Do the Whales Still Sing? She lives in London. Jude Daly has also illustrated two picture books written by Dianne Stewart, The Dove and Gift of the Sun. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa.From School Library Journal:
Grade 2-6?According to the source notes, this story of the three Magi is based on versions of the tale heard by Marco Polo on his travels. The wise men are amazed by the beautiful star that appears in the night sky. Jasper thinks it's a planet; Melchior, a comet; Balthasar says, "It's a mystery. We must consult our charts and scrolls." They discover the legend of a "baby whose birth would be announced by a star" and decide to find him and honor him with gifts. They give him gold (for a king), myrrh (for a healer), and holy incense (for a holy man). He accepts the gifts and offers one in return. When they discover that it is only a stone, Jasper throws it into a well in disgust. Up bursts a tower of flame?indicating to the Magi that the child is all things: a true king, a healer, and a holy one. The fire will "bring justice and healing and peace into the world." This variant of the Biblical tale of Jesus's birth includes unusual details such as Magi who are more comical than wise, never agreeing about anything, and a baby (unnamed here) who is old enough to return a gift of his own. The message, however, is strong and just right for the season. Daly's luminous watercolors capture the sweep of the desert, the beauty of the night sky, and the gracefully stylized characters. An interesting enhancement to Christmas collections.?AC
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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