Reviews the lives and works of two members of Assisi society, Francis and Clare, who renounced their wealth and founded religious orders dedicated to relying on God and living in peace, poverty, and humility.
SGuido Visconti is the author of several books for children, including The Genius of Leonardo (Barefoot Books) and Clare and Francis (Eerdmans). Born in Milan, Italy, Gudio earned a degree in literature and philosophy and then taught school in Italy for several years. In 1985 he moved to India, where he and his wife direct a village school. Alessandra Cimatoribus has illustrated many childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s books with European publishers. She attended the International School of Graphics in Venice, Italy, and has exhibited her works internationally. Alessandra lives in a small town in the Friuli region of northeast Italy.
While many have heard the legends associated with Saint Francis, few know the second saint from Assisi, Clare. Both were born to noble families and exhibited sensitivity to those less fortunate, even in their youth. Both ultimately rejected their families wealth and founded religious orders known for humility, generosity, and devout faith. This book details what is known about their early and mature years, as well as their relationship with one another. Landmanns paintings recall the nonlinear perspective, figural style, and narrative frescoes of the 14th-century artist Giotto. She alternates between multiple panels on a page to lavish spreads. Gilt highlights add a richness to the scenes. Initial pages present a pair of illustrated time lines, comprising significant moments in the saints lives. The closing offers two translations of Franciss "Canticle of Brother Sun." To extend childrens enjoyment of stories about Francis and to help them understand the legacy introduced in this artful picture-book biography, share Margaret Mayos Brother Sun, Sister Moon (Little, Brown, 2000) and Frances Ward Wellers The Day the Animals Came (Philomel, 2003) with them.
- Wendy Lukehart, School Library Journal
*Starred Review* Gr. 4-7. Unlike many books about saints Clare and Francis, this picture book for older children begins as Clare gives her bread to the poor. The focus then quickly shifts to Francis, a young man as kind as he is generous, who dreams about becoming a knight, but decides to serve a higher lord. The familiar story of Francis (and to a lesser extent, Clare) is beautifully treated in this book, with luminous iconic artwork and a text that is both down-to-earth and stroking the stars. Children will be caught up in the struggles of the saints, which will seem relevant to their own lives: the quest for material pleasures, disagreements with family, spiritual hunger. Viscontes incisively written text explains how Francis infused lifes practical moments with the sacred, the words heightened by Landmanns extraordinary artwork. With overtones of Byzantine style, a medieval sensibility, and ripples of Marc Chagalls mysticism, the pictures, all dappled with gilt, beg children to look closely at the full and double-page spreads and at the pages with small squares that explain Francis ministry. "The Canticle of Brother Sun," its words gloriously drenched in gold, makes for a shining ending.
- Ilene Cooper, Booklist