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Somewhere in Ibatoulline's ancient, almost-shimmering Arab desert landscape, a boy at his father's side learns the family business of gathering valuable sap, which seeps like tears from certain trees. Neither father nor son realize the greatness of their wares as it is sold to three finely dressed men who add it to gifts of gold and frankincense that they are taking to "a baby." Newbery Medalist Park's lean, well-paced story bridges the ordinary and the sacred to powerful effect. Park's author's note describes her inspiration and includes some background on myrrh. Ages 6-9. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
K-Gr 2-A boy tells of the long walks he takes with his father, who collects pearls of sap from certain trees, a skill he has honed over years. These expensive "tears" are used as medicine and spice, and as incense at funerals-and when three strangers arrive at the marketplace to buy the finest tears "for a baby," readers discover that it is myrrh, one of the gifts to baby Jesus mentioned in Matthew 2:11. The hyperrealistic acryl-gouache illustrations depict the sandy beige hues and nuanced textures of a dry and inhospitable land, contrasting with the smooth skin and rounded cheeks of the young boy and his loving relationship with his father. This gorgeous picture book sheds thoughtful light on a fascinating facet of the Christmas story.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.