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BooklistTwo years after the United Nations declared "The Year of Rumi," Demi presents this picture-book introduction to the thirteenth-century mystical poet. As in her previous illustrated biographies, Demi condenses her famous subject's life into a brief but substantive text. Here, she adds frequent excerpts from Rumi's poems and writings, and while the timeless passages aren't always smoothly integrated, they clearly demonstrate the poet's range of themes, as well as the reasons for his 800-year-old celebrity status.
In an introductory note, Demi cites Turkish miniatures as her inspiration for the small-scale, elaborately patterned pictures, rendered in Turkish and Chinese inks with gold overlay. Matching the poems' themes of spiritual union and elation, the gilded, celebratory pictures create shimmering beauty from the smallest details. Children will be particularly drawn to the scenes of dervishes whirling in perfect harmony, while Demi's simple words explain the symbolism in the movement: "His inspired verses and his whirling dervishes show that his love of God turns forever." A handsome tribute to a figure, and a subject, rarely covered in children's books.