• Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam

    Integral Yoga

  • $48.94

  • Description

    Meeting the high standards set by her previous picture-book  biographies, Stanley (Michelangelo; Joan of Arc) here focuses on  the 12th-century ruler known as "the Muslim saint-king" who was  "praised even by his enemies as 'the marvel of his time' " and  crystallizes many of the issues still at the root of conflicts  today. Stanley begins with a concise overview of the First  Crusade, then hypothesizes about the impact of the Franks'  murderous conquest of Jerusalem on the young Saladin, a devout  Muslim (after listing Jerusalem's importance to the "three great  religions," the boy poses a question: "Couldn't everyone just  share it?"). The author outlines religious practices, the  political history of the Middle East and of Western Europe, and  the vexed military campaigns for Jerusalem, once again  demonstrating her trademark ability to research and then distill  complex topics in terms accessible to middle-graders. She  painstakingly builds readers' sense of Saladin's integrity and  skilled leadership. For example, when his army was poised for  certain victory over the Christians holding Jerusalem, he wrote  to a knight proposing generous conditions for their surrender:  "I believe that Jerusalem is the House of God, as you also  believe. And I will not willingly lay siege to the House of God  or put it to the assault." Stanley's precise, detailed artwork  pays homage to period architecture. She evokes the colors of  Persian miniatures (and medieval stained glass) as her paintings  incorporate the complex patterning associated with Islamic art.  Portraits of Saladin at home, sitting in front of gorgeously  tiled walls with his family, arrayed in sumptuous robes, are  particularly effective in conveying the richness of the  subject's world. Readers are certain to be intrigued.  Ages  8-12.  Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
           Grade 3-7-Attentive readers of this book-those who can wrest their eyes from the illustrations-will learn some history, some geography, and quite a lot about Islam, as well as about the life of Salah al-Din. (One interesting fact is that he was neither an Arab nor a Turk, but a Kurd.) Even more important, however, may be the chance to put oneself in the shoes of "the enemy," an exercise that is as useful today as it would have been in 1099. Anyone who still harbors romantic ideas about the Crusades will be disabused of them here. The harsh glare of history scours secular and religious leaders alike. Even Richard the Lionhearted appears as both a brilliant commander and "an obnoxious bully," and in light of his slaughter of 3000 hostages at Acre, who could disagree? Saladin is not depicted as flawless, and the attitude of Islam toward women is noted. Yet, on the whole, the great and generous Muslim leader is portrayed as being far nobler than any competitor. Each full page of text is a mini-chapter, a self-contained part of the overall narrative, so that readers can pause and linger over the opposing full-page illustration. These pictures, enlivened by saturated, jewel-like blues, reds, and greens, combine Western realism with pattern and composition recalling Turkish miniatures. Countless details of dress, armor, domestic interiors, and landscape evoke the period and setting. The beauty and sophistication of Islamic culture shine through Stanley's glorious pictures. A timely and splendid addition to the author's earlier biographical profiles. Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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