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The Third Gift

by Linda Sue Park
Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Published by Clarion, 2011
32 pages
ISBN: trade 978𢠧47-201955

Ages 49

An original narrative builds to an unexpected conclusion that connects it to one of the most beloved stories in Christianity. A boy抯 father is teaching him how to collect 搕ears of sap, the bubbles that rise up and harden when the bark of a tree is cut. Under his skilled father抯 guidance the boy collects his first one. 揙n the way home, I look at it again and again. They usually sell their tears to a spice merchant, who sells them in turn to people wanting them for medicine, or to grind up and add to oil to anoint the body of someone who has died. On their next trip to the market the spice merchant is waiting for them with three customers who have come looking for a special gift: they already have gold and frankincense, with the selection of the boy抯 tear, they add myrrh to their offerings for a baby. 揑 watch the three men mount their camels. I watch them leave the marketplace. I watch as they ride into the desert. And I wonder about the baby. Linda Sue Park抯 stirring, satisfying tale concludes with an author抯 note providing a brief summary of accounts of the Wise Men.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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