Title: Mara of Old BabylonMara of Old Babylon
Author: Elizabeth P. Witheridge
Illustrator: Lucille Wallower
Pages: 128
Recommended Ages: 8-10
Star Rating: ★★★★

And for our latest story, we turn to the 500s BC!

The Story.

Mara worries so about Kish. She and her family are free Jews who live outside the great city of Babylon. They do not have to suffer the cruelties of the slavery. But Kish, parentless and defenceless, is owned by the cruel merchant, Balan. If only there was a way for Kish to escape!

And then comes the news that the Persian army is marching towards Babylon. As rumors fly, Mara and her family begin to hope. Perhaps if the Persians capture Babylon, they will be allowed to return to Jerusalem. And maybe, Mara hopes, they will be able to take Kish with them!

But will the Persians ever come? And when they do come, will they be lenient with the Jews?

Discussion.

The story has its basis in the Babylonian captivity as recorded in the Bible. Mara and her family are devout Jews who have remained faithful to God and who seek to return to their homeland whenever it is achievable. Although Mara understandably struggles with the idea of leaving her comfortable home and all she has ever known, she courageously chooses to embrace the heritage of her people. Passages of Scripture are quoted, and religious matters are treated with reverence.

Mara is very close to her parents and obeys them implicitly. They are understanding in turn and trust her to complete important tasks.

Mara and her family concoct a disguise for Kish to wear – it is that of an old woman, which he pretends to be over the days in which he hides with their family. It is deceptive, but saves his life.

Conclusion. A good story for young readers.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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