Reuben is an orphan boy and a mute, despised by the rough Hebrew shepherds he grows up among. Only his adoptive mother shows him kindness. When she dies, Reuben is left without love and protection in a cruel environment. He clings to the shawl she left him and ponders her final words--that a king will one day need the shawl and will give him a voice in exchange. He must keep the rough garment safe for the king.

Years pass in tests and torment, but Reuben shows the shawl to every visitor who passes through his nomadic camp, only to be rebuffed again and again. Will the king come, or were his mother's final words false, as well as her God? The answer brings transformation beyond what anyone could have imagined.

Dekker delivers a sweet, simple tearjerker as poignant as "The Little Drummer Boy." This would be a blessing in anyone's Christmas stocking. (Oct., 64 pp., $12.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson