There are hundreds even thousands of religions in the world today, and each has its own history. From Christianity and the birth of Christ, Islam and the revelations of Muhammad, to Buddhism and the teachings of the Buddha himself, it is critical that our children learn the importance and individuality of different faiths. The Prince Who Ran Away is the perfect tool for getting kids interested in other cultures and religions. The story of Gautama Buddha, the book narrates the events of his childhood and explains how his teachings became the basis of one of the world's five major religions.

Author of over 100 books, Anne Rockwell delights here with a captivating tale that is sure to keep the attention of children ages 7-10. Beginning with his prophetic birth in a forest of flowering trees in India, Rockwell recounts the life of Buddha, highlighting the dedication and kindness he came to possess as he matured. Over the course of this little biography, Buddha realizes his compassion for his people. He begs, fasts, meditates and preaches, all of which lead to his spiritual awakening.

The illustrations are what truly make this book outstanding. With the use of vibrant colors, illustrator Fahimeh Amiri draws readers right into the tale from the beginning. The exotic Indian setting is wonderfully rendered. Among the many images that stand out is one in which the Buddha is looked upon by Mara, the Evil One. The brilliant reds, blues, greens and yellows bring the illustration to life. The most amazing image, however, is a picture of Buddha meditating under a fig tree and being taunted by Mara's demons. Each demon is perfectly drawn to depict the Evil One's terror, but each is also charming enough to be pleasing to the young eye. Amiri, a native of Iran, has contributed remarkably authentic illustrations. His collaboration with veteran author Rockwell adds up to a first-rate story. The Prince Who Ran Away is the perfect addition to any family's library.

Karen Van Valkenburg is a book publicist in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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