A retelling of the biblical story of Balaam and his ass, based on the Jewish Publication Society's new translation, which brings out the humor of tire tale as well as points out that truth often issues from the mouths of such imperfect people as Balaam. When Balaam persisted in an errand contrary to God's will, his ass refused to take him and he beat her; taking pity on the ass. God gave her the power of speech so that she could point out to her master the error of his ways. Keeping within the spirit of the original, Cohen recasts the dialogue in a delightfully accessible style. In her first picture book, the illustrator makes a strong beginning. Her richly hued double-spreads (on which the text is superimposed) are an evocative rendition of the ancient world, with its deep blue sky and brilliant sunsets, emerald grasses, and warm desert sands. The figures have a solid universality with an appropriate touch of wry humor. A splendid addition to Bible story collections.