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Alphabet of Dreams

by Susan Fletcher

Published by Ginee Seo Books / Atheneum, 2006
294 pages
ISBN: 0-689-85042-4

Ages 11-15

Mitraís little brother, Babak, has the gift of prophecy: the future comes to him in his dreams. A Magus--a powerful priest--named Melchior has read a strange and wonderful message in the stars and wants Babakís dreams to tell him more. Mitra and Babak are soon part of the priestís large caravan as it travels westward across Persia and the Great Desert, to a town called Bethlehem where a king is to be born. Melchior is not concerned about the price Babak pays for dreaming, and Mitra watches helpless as her little brother slip farther and farther away from reality, despite the healing efforts of the kindly Magus Balthazaar who joins them on their journey. Susan Fletcher weaves history, theory, and myth into a richly textured, captivating novel about two children who end up playing a small but critical role in the life of an infant child in Bethlehem. Although the narrative starts slowly it quickly builds, especially once Mitra and Babakís story becomes bound with the story of Jesus. Fletcher never loses focus, however, and she is firmly grounded in telling a tale of two Persian children whose lives have been torn apart by circumstances beyond their control. Homeless and living in exile when the novel begins, Mitraís hope that she and Babak will be reunited with the rest of their family sustains her. When that hope dissolves, she finds eventually finds solace in new ideas of what home and family can be. The authorís extensive note at the novelís end discusses her research and reveals fascinating information about the time and place in which this story is set. (MS) ©2007 Cooperative Childrenís Book Center

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