Featured Reviews, VOLUME 4

Featured: Brother Sun, Sister Moon – Katherine Paterson [Vol. 4, #20]

“Giving Praise to God for All Creation

A review of
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Reimagined by Katherine Paterson.

Review by Leslie Starasta.

[ Browse this book online here… ]


BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON - Katherine PatersonBrother Sun, Sister Moon:
Saint Francis of Assisi’s
Canticle of the Creatures
.
Reimagined by Katherine Paterson.
Hardback: Chronicle Books, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

If you say the name Katherine Paterson, many individuals automatically bring to mind her Newbery Award winning novels such as Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins.  However, in her most recent work, Paterson turns her attention to one of the great figures of church history, St. Francis of Assisi, and brings his famous “Canticle of the Creatures’ down to a child’s understanding.  Wedded with beautiful illustrations, this picture book begs to be read and admired by children and the young at heart.

The cover of this enchanting book indicates “reimagined” by Paterson instead of the typical author credentials.  Reimagined best describes this work as Paterson lovingly captures the spirit and essence of this beloved hymn without sacrificing its beauty or poetry.   The emphasis throughout remains focused on giving praise to God for all of his creation and reminding readers to give thanks for the earth around us.  Bill Barrett’s translation of The Canticle of the Creatures” is included as well.

Beyond the beautiful, stirring words, Pamela Dalton’s illustrations bring the words to life.  The illustrations are Scherenschnitte or “scissor cuts” which are each made from one piece of paper and then exquisitely painted with watercolor.  Each illustration tells its own story which accompanies the words on the page.  For example, one illustration, which accompanies praise to “our Sister Earth . . . as she sustains our bodies with food,” lovingly depicts a family harvesting pears from the orchard, root vegetables from the garden, and tending their herd of cows.  Each two-page spread gorgeously expands on the idea presented with exquisite details such as squirrels hiding nuts and provides opportunities for discussion and reflection on the importance of creation care.

This book will be a welcome addition to home libraries to be shared and cherished by children and adults.  The harvest themes many of the illustrations have will make this a wonderful addition to Thanksgiving celebrations.  However, we must be careful not to place this treasure only on the children’s shelf.  This resource will be loved by anyone who enjoys art or who enjoys reading and studying the life of St. Francis and will be a delight to many.

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Leslie Starasta is a librarian in central Illinois, who still loves to read picture books.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon:
Saint Francis of Assisi’s
Canticle of the Creatures
.
Reimagined by Katherine Paterson.
Hardback: Chronicle Books, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com


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