The Golden Bull

The Golden Bull

by Marjorie Cowley
     
 

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A brother and sister's search for a new life and new home . . .

5,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia during a terrible drought, Jomar and Zefa's father must send his children away to the city of Ur because he can no longer feed them. At fourteen, Jomar is old enough to apprentice with Sidah, a master goldsmith for the temple of the moongod, but there is no

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Overview

A brother and sister's search for a new life and new home . . .

5,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia during a terrible drought, Jomar and Zefa's father must send his children away to the city of Ur because he can no longer feed them. At fourteen, Jomar is old enough to apprentice with Sidah, a master goldsmith for the temple of the moongod, but there is no place for Zefa in Sidah's household. Zefa, a talented but untrained musician, is forced to play her music and sing for alms on the streets of Ur.

Marjorie Cowley vividly imagines the intrigues, and harsh struggle for survival in ancient Mesopotamia.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Elizabeth Sulock
The Golden Bull tells the fictional story of the relationship between a teenager named Jomar and his younger sister Zefa as they leave their family's farm due to a great drought. They journey to the city of Ur (present-day Iraq). Jomar is set to become an apprentice to the master goldsmith Sidah. However, Zefa, an untrained but talented musician, is not welcomed into Sidah's home. Their relationship diverges when Zefa is accused of stealing a valuable bead, and she sets out to find her place in the foreign city alone. The two must defeat the schemes of Malak, an evil official who works for the temple, and help Sidah's family overcome a terrible loss. Cowley has created a simple historical story that offers great insight into what everyday life must have been like in Mesopotamia. This is an intriguing read for students of Egyptian history and anyone interested in learning about life in this ancient culture. Reviewer: Elizabeth Sulock
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Jomar, 14, and his younger sister have been forced to go to the city of Ur to bring income to their poverty-stricken family. Jomar will be an apprentice to a goldsmith, but Zefa has little talent for anything other than playing the lyre that her brother has made for her. He considers the instrument a toy and a burden, but Zefa's talent charms the siblings' way out of one dangerous situation after another. When they finally reach their destination, Jomar is warmly greeted, but Zefa is accused of stealing and runs away. The goldsmith's wife accuses her of stealing and she runs away. It is not until Jomar begs the help of a high priestess that he is able to clear the girl's name and entice her to play the honored temple lyre. This well-researched historical drama opens readers' eyes to the perils of starving farmers in ancient Mesopotamia. The simple story line, colorful descriptions, and endearing characters result in an entertaining tale.-Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL

Kirkus Reviews
Young readers will identify with the up-and-down sibling relationship at the center of this historical tale, in spite of its uncommonly petrified dialogue ("Early tomorrow morning I'll take you to the broad, well-traveled road that leads to the city") and a less-than-suspenseful plot. Dispatched from their drought-stricken farm to make their way as best they can in the ancient city of Ur, grumpy teenager Jomar and his tempestuous little sister Zefa spend at least as much energy quarreling as they do fretting about finding work while staying out of the clutches of Malak, a malicious official of the prosperous temple of the moongod. By the end, Jomar has proven himself an apt apprentice to a kindly goldsmith, and Zefa has parlayed a natural talent with the lyre into a position as a Temple musician-but more importantly, each has earned the other's respect. Along with glimpses of ancient goldsmithing techniques, Cowley tucks healthy measures of cultural and historical detail into her uncomplicated Mesopotamian tale. (Historical fiction. 10-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580891820
Publisher:
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
309,697
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

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