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Stone: A Persian Legend of the Magi

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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.

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Overview


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.

A retelling of the story told to Marco Polo about the Magi of Saveh, three wise men from a town in Persia, who followed a strange star and find a special child.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Attributed to a retelling by Marco Polo, this story is a Persian legend of the Magi. As the tale goes, Balthasar, Melchior and Jasper did indeed follow a star to see the baby, a king who would bring "justice and healing and peace to the world." Jasper wanted to present his gift first, and he was astonished to find that the child was a young man like himself. As the others entered, they also found the child to be like themselves-until they entered together and saw that they had all been wrong, there was only a child. He gives them a single gift in return which they later share with the world.
School Library Journal
Gr 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
Kirkus Reviews
This exquisitely illustrated story spins anew the famous tale of the Magi. It is a retelling of the Persian legend, as told to Marco Polo in the 13th century, whereupon three astronomers, Jasper, Melchior, and Balthasar, who are also healers and holy men, follow a bright star in the sky to witness the birth of a king. Upon greeting the child, the three men present gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. The child accepts their gifts, but also endows the three men with his own offering, a stone. It proves to be a solid symbol of belief that gives off a fervor of fire. Daly's illustrations perfectly capture the arid landscapes and the starry night sky, and her intriguing perspectives and inventive use of the page combine ancient, simplified forms with more elegant lines. The book has broad appeal, giving a fresh new shape and texture to a familiar story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845074463
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/9/2005
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.16 (w) x 6.22 (h) x 0.12 (d)

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