A personal interpretation of the Virgin Mary's girlhood, illustrated with luminous reproductions of fine art by Giotto, Fra Fillipo Lippi, Rossetti, Georges de La Tour, and others. Mayer (Pegasus, p. 498, etc.) bases her readable narrative on Apocryphal materials, stories she heard as a girl, and Gospel text; Mary is characterized as an uncommonly wise, gentle, and courageous child. Mayer opens not with the more familiar annunciation, but with an earlier angelic annunciation involving Mary's mother, who had despaired of conceiving a child. Later, another sign from God points to Joseph as the suitor of choice. Before the couple wed, Gabriel comes and asks Mary if she will consent to bearing the son of God. The accompanying illustration by Rossetti shows all of Mary's uncertainty in her expression, and the text's emphasis on Mary's choice and will is refreshing. The final illustration of mother and child by La Tour glows with the warmth and light of love. Particularly good reproductions of the artwork coupled with a well-written story make this an appealing, empowering volume.