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Children's Books

King Solomon & the Queen of ShebaKing Solomon & the Queen of Sheba

by Blu Greenberg, Linda Tarry, and Avi Katz (Illustrator)
Publication: Simcha Media Group, 1997

Ages 4-8

 

This version of the story has exciting original material. Afresh new tales and riddles, an equal relationship, and a naturally multicultural, as well as slightly feminist, bias. Beginning like a fairy tale, it introduces the precocious African princess Makeda of Sheba, a child whose wisdom, fame as a riddler, and kindness prompts her elderly father to name her, rather than either of her brothers, his heir. And she becomes Queen. (This is the first time that the Queen of Sheba has been given a history, a family, and aggada [legends] of her own, or that she has been shown to be of the African race.) Meanwhile, "In a land far away" lives a wise Jewish King, named Solomon, who had also manifested great wisdom as a child. Inevitably, traders bring news of the other to their rulers. Queen Makeda accepts King Solomon's invitation to visit. The two quietly earn each other's respect and love while also discussing the other's country and religious beliefs. They marry; she conceives his child and returns to Sheba. When their son reaches the age of 13, he returns to his father. There the story ends, but the legend continues in an afterword that explains the prevailing desire of today's Ethiopian Jews to return to Jerusalem. While the writing is graceful and dignified, the art accomplished and charming with valid ethnic representation, and the book design elegant, the real importance of this title is its more accurate portrayal of the Queen of Sheba. -- School Library Journal

 

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