A Basket Full of Figs

Ori Elon, illus. by Menahem Halberstadt. Green Bean, $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-78438-472-2
In this winsome retelling of a Midrash tale, the Roman emperor Hadrian sees a very old man, followed by a duck, planting a fig tree. Curious, Hadrian says, “the tree is so small... and you are so old! Surely you won’t live long enough to eat its fruit?” The old man explains that the tree is a “gift” and points out that when he came into the world there “were lots of trees... wonderful gifts that earlier generations had kindly left for me.” Years later, Hadrian finds the man, still living and enjoying the figs; he shares some with Hadrian, who rewards him with gold (a detail extraneous to the moral that trees are a gift themselves). The kinetic, sketchy lines of Halberstadt’s illustrations appealingly depict Hadrian, in full Roman regalia, trotting through a jumbled village where residents peer out from patched curtains and ducks face off with mounted steeds. Ages 5–8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/13/2020
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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