cover image The King and the Magician

The King and the Magician

Jorge Bucay, illus. by Gusti. Abbeville Kids, $14.95 (52p) ISBN 978-0-7892-1204-

An ironfisted king gets a subtle education in the value of kindness in this lovely folktale from Argentinean writer Bucay. Although the king's power is absolute, he is troubled by rumors of a magician with the power to foretell the future, and he sends spies to investigate. "When his troops returned, they reported that not only could the Magician foresee the future, even worse, he was a wise and caring man, admired and loved by all." The king invites the magician to his castle, plotting to kill him, only to have his plans upended when the man predicts that both of them will die on the same day. Gripped by fear and a sense of self-preservation, the king keeps the magician nearby as an advisor, one whose benevolent counsel he comes to rely on and internalize. Gold detailing, including the text of the story, provides a regal air as Gusti's (Half of an Elephant) stylized collages express a spectrum of emotions, from the sinister jealousy that originally drives the king to the genuine trust and friendship that blossom between the two men. Ages 4%E2%80%93up. (Sept.)