THE WRITING ON THE WALL by Leon Garfield

THE WRITING ON THE WALL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Yes, Belshazzar's feast--and one of those ambitious, spoofy-and-serious English picture books, for older kids, that avail little or nothing here--especially without a comic-book look. The ""writing on the wall"" is indeed the Biblical notice to Belshazzar, in Hebrew letters, that his kingdom is about to be destroyed for the sin of setting himself above God. Contrasted against Babylonian swank and gluttony is the figure of kitchen-boy Samuel: ""a nothing, a nobody. . . and he was rushed off his feet."" And following Samuel about is a half-starved cat, Mordecai. They (alone) were not found wanting by God, says ""Judge Daniel,"" correcting Samuel's reading of the writing-on-the-wall: ""found NEEDING."" (So he should take the golden bowl and silver pitcher he's retrieved, and go home.) The full-color painterly illustrations (some Breughel tableaux, some cinematic close-ups) make this a book of historical pageantry; the text, being Garfield's, has style. But that earnest, harried little servant-boy is still a Dickensian juvenile-fiction stereotype--and, complete with cat, a device.

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 1983
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard