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The Legend of the Wandering King

by Laura Gallego García
Translated by Dan Bellm, from the Spanish

Published by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Press, 2005
213 pages
ISBN: 0-439-58556-2

Ages 11-14

Laura Gallego García’s magical, mystical story is about fate, choice, redemption, and the power of love in many forms. Set in long ago in Arabia, when “anything was possible,” it tells of a prince named Walid who aspires to be a great poet. Despite his talent, Walid loses a local poetry competition to a carpetmaker, whose gifts are matched by his humility. Consumed by revenge, when Walid becomes king he refuses to let the carpetmaker return to his family until he has completed seemingly impossible tasks, including the creation of a rug that encompasses all of human history and knowledge. Amazingly, the carpetmaker succeeds, but then dies, his mind and body destroyed by the effort. When the extraordinary carpet is stolen, an obsessed Walid abandons his kingdom to search for it. But as he travels the deserts and cities of Arabia, his perspective begins to change. Three times on his journeys, he is saved from death by the kindness of others. And each time, the identity of his savior illuminates the far-reaching implications of his own cruel behavior in the past. What is fate telling him? Walid can’t undo the terrible things he did, but can he make decisions now that will serve the future better than he served the past? (MS) ©2005 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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