cover image Daniel's Gift

Daniel's Gift

Mary-Claire Helldorfer, M. C. Helldorfer. Bradbury Press, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-743511-5

The Nativity story is combined with a tale of a young shepherd's falling for a thief's tricks. Daniel sees a new star and makes up a tale of a newborn king. Warned by his brothers not to sleep while he guards the flock, Daniel can't stay awake when the thief, Mak, spins a story. Mak steals the largest sheep and disguises it as his wife's new baby before Daniel's innocence unmasks the deed. Daniel's belief that there will be a new baby worthy of honor is sustained and he offers his flute-like pipe to the new child. Lovely watercolor borders wrap the action in vines, bluebirds and bows. But the skill with which the faces of the characters are created variessome are broadly funny, while others are stiffly serene. And the rough-hewn story doesn't achieve a smooth blend of comic elements and more spiritual ones. Ages 4-8. (October)