Solomon, King of Israel, is considered to be the wisest of all men and tradition has it that he knew the language of animals. But what was Solomon like as a child? An intriguing and original answer is to be found in this modern fable by Shlomit Cohen-Assif. Children will easily identify, for little Solomon loves animals, makes friends with them and invites them all-̶̶ the worm, the ant, the grasshopper, the hedgehog, the lizard and the frog-̶̶ to the palace. His mother, Queen Bathsheba, isn’t happy at all. She’s worried about his education and gets mad at him, but Solomon calms her, arguing that he learns a whole lot of useful things from the animals.
One day, when a queen from a faraway country visits the palace, something unpleasant happens: she is pricked in her bottom by a hedgehog, then she is stung on her tongue. Following this diplomatic incident, Bathsheba decides to throw all the animals out into the forest. But the problem isn’t solved and one evening she bumps into a tiger that is roaming the palace. The tiger has jumped out of Solomon’s dream, and after it come other animals, large and small! They bring a lot of gaiety to the palace and teach the young prince that wisdom isn’t being the smartest, wisdom is being the most humane of all.
Illustrations: Gil-li Alon Kuriel
English translation available (for publishers only)