Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Legend of the Wandering King, by Laura Gallego Garcia

In pre-Islamic Arabia, a proud prince hosts a poetry competition to prove that he is the best poet in his father's kingdom, but when he is bested by a lowly carpet weaver, the prince vows for vengeance with disastrous results. In the aftermath, the prince seeks to make amends and learn what it is to have a heart and be a truly great poet.

A fairy tale which steadfastly refuses to fall into typical stereotypes and defies expectations, it nonetheless encompasses the beauty of The Arabian Nights and a Grimms Brothers tale. Bits of realism expose a view of a life that few Western readers will know and carefully sewn with fantastic elements, it will stir the imagination as well. A truly enchanting book that will delight younger children with its adventures and older readers with the wisdom that it contains. Highly recommended.

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