Daniel’s Choice

Daniel [chose to not eat] the king’s meat, nor … the wine which he drank (Dan. 1:8).

When King Nebuchadnezzar and his soldiers attacked Jerusalem, they captured many Israelites and took them to Babylon. The king gave his chief officer an important job—to pick out the smartest and healthiest of the Israelite children, bring them to the palace, and teach them the language and learning of the scholars there.

Four of the children were Daniel and his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Living in the palace was very different from living at home. In the palace, they were given Babylonian names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

And they were fed special foods. The king himself ate these foods, but Daniel knew that they were not good for him. He asked the chief officer to not make him eat them nor drink the wine.

The chief officer said that Daniel must eat them or he would be less healthy—and the king might have him (the chief officer) killed.

Because he did not want the chief officer to be killed, Daniel asked that he and his friends be given pulse (vegetables) and water for ten days. Then, after being compared to the other children, if the four friends were less healthy, they would eat the king’s food.

The chief officer agreed. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his friends were strong and full of energy. They looked healthier than the other children. And they were much wiser than even the king’s own counselors!


The barber wraps me in a sheet
When I sit in his chair.
I hear his scissors snip-snip-snipping
As he quickly cuts my hair.
He lets me hold the mirror and comb,
And if my neck gets prickly,
He sweeps it with his little broom—
It’s nice and soft and tickly.
The barber pole goes round and round
With stripes that never stop.
I wonder where those stripes all go
When they get to the top.

Chocolate Lambs

To make Chocolate Lambs, you will need: a plain chocolate candy bar, whipping cream, and a few chocolate chips.

  1. 1.

    Ask an older person to grate the candy bar into a small bowl, then whip the cream in another bowl.

  2. 2.

    For each lamb, put four heaping spoons of the whipped cream on a piece of waxed paper and spread the cream into a lamb shape (see illustration).

  3. 3.

    Sprinkle a generous amount of grated chocolate all over the lamb, then poke two chocolate chips in for eyes.

  4. 4.

    Very carefully tilt the paper and very gently shake the excess chocolate back into the small bowl to use on another lamb.

  5. 5.

    Put the lambs in the freezer for at least four hours before eating.

Good Books for Little Friends

In the Tall, Tall Grass and In the Small, Small Pond, by Denise Fleming, show a caterpillar and a frog, respectively, accompanying you as you see the creatures that inhabit each place. The text on each doublespread is about a half dozen words that use a rhyme in describing and identifying each creature.

Bobby the Mostly Silky by David McKelvey Bobby wasn’t as fancy as the other chickens, but she was the best parent the baby chicks could have.

The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barracca Inspired by a dog who really did ride with the driver of a taxi, the authors tell, in rhyme, of Maxi, a stray who was adopted, and the adventures he had with taxi passengers: a singer, a woman rushing to the hospital to have a baby, and two clowns with a chimp.

Three Good Blankets by Ida Luttrell The old woman had only a ragged blanket to help her keep warm in her drafty house. The donkey that carried her firewood, the goat that gave her milk and cheese, and the dog that protected her from wolves were cold too. Her three children had little more than she did, but they each gave her a good blanket. Can you guess what she did with them?

[illustrations] Illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki