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Home > Children's Books > The Green Musician

cover of The Green Musician

Available Now

at your local bookseller or your favorite online book retailer.

The Green Musician
retold by:Mahvash Shahegh
illustrated by: Claire Ewart
Subject(s): Age(s) / Grade level / Lexile:

JUVENILE FICTION / Legends, Myths, & Fables (early reader 4-8)

4 & up / 3rd–4th / Lexile measure: 760L

Format: Size / page count:


8" × 10" / 36 pages

ISBN: Date available:


Available now




If you had just one chance to achieve your dream, what would you do? In a distant kingdom lived a young musician named Barbad. His one dream was to play before the king in the royal court. But Barbad’s way was blocked by Sarkash, a jealous rival who would do anything to stop Barbad from meeting the king. But perhaps the palace wasn’t the only place to play before the king, for he loved to walk in his garden. What if Barbad was to hide in a tree for just the right moment to play?

Find out if Barbad's dream comes true in this magical tale of patience and determination, which proves that all good things really do come to those who wait. Stunning artwork from award-winning illustrator, Claire Ewart, gently brings this whimsical story to life. Adapted from a 1,000 year old Persian story by Mahvash Shahegh, the tale of Barbad the musician is originally found in the legendary “Book of Kings” (Shahnameh), which tells the story of the mystical past of ancient Persia.

Awards & Honors
  • Finalist in the 2015 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards, in the “Picture Books” category
  • Finalist in the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Book of the Year Awards, in the “Interior Design: 3 or more Color: Children's/Young Adult” category

Reviews (hide/show)

“Based on a thousand-year-old Persian poem, Shahegh’s retelling emphasizes the rewards of persistence and passion, and her author’s note provides additional background about the tale. Ewart’s warm, expressive watercolor illustrations add to the charmingly old-fashioned atmosphere.”
American Library Association's Booklist Magazine

“A young musician finds a clever way to play to a royal audience in this tale from ancient Persia. Drawn from Ferdowsi’s 11th-century Book of Kings, the tale describes how the dream of Barbad (a seventh-century historical figure) to become King Khosrow’s resident minstrel was blocked by the refusal of Sarkash, the jealous incumbent, to allow him into the palace. Barbad gets his audition at last, however, by painting himself green, hiding in a tree in the royal gardens, and playing from concealment until the delighted king calls him down. . . . Ewart’s watercolor illustrations are done in a realistic rather than “Persian miniature” style and set the episode amid verdant hills and rich interiors awash in candlelit gold. In this general atmosphere of peace and plenty, everyone, even Sarkash (at first), looks happy and smiles engagingly. . . . A serene, simply retold tale of dreams pursued and achieved (source and background notes) (Picture book/folk tale. 6-8).”
Kirkus Reviews

The Green Musician receives fine color drawings by Claire Ewart and will reach ages 6 and up with a picture book story retelling a classic 1,000-year-old Persian story found in the Persian Book of Kings. Barbad the musician lives in long-ago Persia and his goal is to play before the king: something that may be impossible due to a jealous rival. His solution is unique and fosters the idea of innovation and determination for young audiences. Picture book collections strong in folk stories from around the world will find this a fine addition.”
Children’s Bookwatch, a publication of the Midwest Book Review
sample page spread from the book “The Green Musician”, written by Mahvash Shahegh and illustrated by Claire Ewart

A sample of Claire Ewart’s illustrations from the book The Green Musician,
an ancient Persian story retold by Mahvash Shahegh.

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