Alberic the Wise and Other Journeys

 
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Alberic the Wise and Other Journeys

Oh, what a little gem and what a terrific read aloud. Here is a little book with three small stories and an enormous amount of wisdom. Sometimes you wonder how you can get the big ideas of life across to children in a way they will hear them, understand them and accept them. Norton Juster has rolled them up in this nice little blue book! Meet Alberic, a young man "who knew nothing at all." Oh, he can get by in the world with his daily tasks of hitching the ox to the plow or honing his scythe but of the great big world he knows nothing, imagines nothing and cares not a whit. He has no dreams and his life consists of his aching back or his "impatient stomach." One day Alberic meets a man who stops on his journey to share his stories of the world. Suddenly Alberic is filled with the wonders of the world and the pursuit of knowledge and off he goes to find wisdom of his own. His journey will take him to search for meaning and wisdom in beauty, usefulness, and in innovation. Just as each of us seeks meaning for ourselves, Alberic turns to first one source and then another. What will the answer be? The second story centers on a man named Claude for whom life holds no meaning. He does not care about anything until the day he discovers tears dropping from the eyes of a young woman in a painting in his local museum. Entering the painting he will find something to fight for...but will he believe? Finally, there is the story of Two Kings...one of whom has everything he could wish for and the other who has nothing at all...or is it just how they perceive their situation? Off they go to discover how the other folks live and we watch as they discover exactly what they want to see rather than what is true. This is a wonderfully entertaining journey ...it's a bit like having a treasure chest of wisdom. Norton Juster truly crafted these stories with masterful use of language, humor, and the ultimate truth of the human story. He holds a magnifying glass up to life and to us. Now, it is up to each one of us to turn these pages, perhaps see ourselves, and hopefully set our sails with a bit more wisdom than before. The book is an entertaining delight. 88 pages Ages 8 and up

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