The Wisdom Bird
A Tale of Solomon and Sheba
Publication Date: September 2000
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King Soloman is wise, the wisest man in the world. One day, the Queen of Sheba--the wisest woman in the world--arrives at the gates of Jerusalem. She has come form a faraway land to see Solomon put this wisdom to work. "Name anything," says the king. What the queen asks of Solomon is startling. To fulfill her request, he must change the birds of the sky--and change them forever. Soon the fate of every bird in the world rests with a small, colorful bird called the hoopoe. The roots of the story of Solomon, Sheba, and the hoopoe bird are deep. Versions of the story are found in the folklore of Israel, Yemen, and East Africa. Out of this folklore, Sheldon Oberman has fashioned his own moving version of the tale, while Neil Waldman's stunning paintings reflect a blending of the tale's Jewish and African traditions. This tale, which speaks to us of respect for different people and the different creatures of the world, is ancient and powerful.