Mysterious Traveler by Mal Peet & Elspeth Graham (P.J. Lynch, Illustrator)

I haven’t covered a children’s picture book in a while and was motivated to post on one when I picked up Mysterious Traveler from the local library.

Already an old man, desert guide Issa has seen thousands of dawns. One particular morning, however, the desert reveals something new; something that changes his life. Tucked away in a narrow cave, shielded from a treacherous dust storm by a faithful camel, a baby girl lies wrapped in fine cotton and wearing half of a star medallion around her neck. Issa names the girl Mariama. As years pass, Issa loses his sight, and Mariama becomes his eyes. So Issa doesn’t see the pattern on the robes of a mysterious young traveler who comes through their village, or the medallion he wears. Who is this young stranger, and what does his arrival mean for the life Issa and Mariama share in the desert?

It is a wonderfully evocative and engaging story with gorgeous art. It is a simple story, with admittedly very little suspense but it has an elegance and warmth to it.

A great read-aloud book but also a good book for young readers.

Mysterious Traveller Possible cover First copies of Mysterious Traveler lo res

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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