First and last, a Bodhisattva sits in the Heaven of Delights, awaiting the time for his birth, the time when men forget the teaching of the last Buddha... Wisely enclosing Gautama in the existent legend of Buddhism where he is only one of a continuum of teachers; wisely letting the legendary figure precede the historical man in each stage of his life, Mrs. Kelen has achieved a discrete amalgam, one which is both reverential and revealing. His father's assiduous attempts to shield his remarkably endowed son from any sight which would arouse his compassion and cause him to regret his princely role; the ""Four Signs,"" apparitions of old age, sickness, death and salvation which led to the Great Renunciation; the Great Enlightenment under the Bo tree, a vision of ignorance as ""the trigger that makes the soul run after life""--all this is effective storytelling. Gradually entering the realm of the historical Buddha, as his teachings were transmitted by his followers, the author is equally effective as interpreter. Any youngster with the slightest curiosity will find this fascinating; so would adults.