The journey of the three Magi on their travels to the birthplace of Jesus is recounted from the point of view of a horse.
The majestic, white horse named Safanad is owned by the wise man named Melchior, who is depicted as an elderly Asian man. The other wise men are Caspar, who rides a camel, and Balthazar, who rides an elephant. Both Caspar and Balthazar have brown skin. The three men and their animals follow a star of “dazzling brilliance” on a difficult journey before finally arriving at the stable with a baby in a manger. The wise men present their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, with Safanad the horse symbolically kneeling next to a lamb, a symbol of Jesus. Relevant verses from the King James Version of the Bible are set in gold type at the beginning and ending of the story, with Safanad’s narration creating a fictional version of the arduous travels. The horse as narrator doesn’t work well, as the text is too complex for an equine point of view. The illustrations are uneven; while smaller illustrations within patterned borders and detailed depictions of the three wise men are quite appealing, many of the larger illustrations appear crudely done. An author’s note explains more about the wise men and the historical sources.
An uneven effort that reflects a lack of understanding of the intended audience. (Picture book/religion. 5-8)