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Author(s): Margaret Hodges

ISBN13: 9780802850775

ISBN10: 0802850774

Publisher: W.B.Eerdmans

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  • "Will you carry me safely over the water?" asked the child.
    "I will carry you," Offero answered.
    Then he lifted the child onto his shoulders.
    He took his staff in his hand and stepped down into the river.

    The legend of Saint Christopher, first written in the thirteenth century, tells the story of a strong man named Offero, who wants to find the greatest ruler in all the world and to serve him as his bearer. Offeros search is in vain until a mysterious child at a riverside asks Offero to carry him over the river. Only after Offero has carried the child over the river does he discover the childs true identity. Then Offeros name is changed to Christopher.

    Author Margaret Hodges retells with power and simplicity this unforgettable tale of the man who became known as the patron saint of travelers. And illustrator Richard Jesse Watson has created hypnopompic paintings that dramatically capture Offeros journey and the brilliance of his discovery of the One he sought.

  • Margaret Hodges

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    Publishers Weekly

    Hodges (Saint George and the Dragon) masterfully adapts William Caxtons 15th-century translation of The Golden Legend to serve up a saints tale with strong folkloric elements. Offero, a strong man who works as a bearer (porter), wants to serve the greatest king in the world. When he discovers that the king fears the devil, Offero concludes the devil is mightier, and serves him until he learns that the devil fears Christ. Offeros search to serve Christ teaches him that his own inner grace is even stronger than his physical prowess. Watsons (The High Rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake) artwork achieves a startling blend of the ancient and the timeless, the archetypal and the particular he paints narrative elements in representational oils, reserving the backgrounds for abstract patterns that hint at the mythic roots of legend. All ages.

    Beverley Fahey - Childrens Literature

    With simplicity and dignity, Hodges retells the story of Saint Christopher, patron saint of travelers, based on the 13th century Golden Legend translated by William Caxton. Offoro was a strong, bold man who wished to serve the "greatest king in the world." Every time he found a leader he thought worthy to serve, that person, it turned out, feared someone else. His quest led him from a king to the devil to a lonely hermit. From him he learned of a mighty lord, Jesus Christ. The hermit instructed Offoro to go to the river and carry travelers across, and for that kindness, Christ would show himself to Offorro. One evening a mysterious boy appeared at the rivers edge and as Offoro carried the boy, he seemed to become heavier as the water frothed and raged. Setting him down on the other side, Offoro learned the boys true identify, Christ, who carried the worlds sin as his burden. For his kindness Offors name was changed to Christopher, the Christ-bearer. When the miracle the child promised came to fruition, Christopher knew he had found the greatest master to serve. Powerful, dramatic oil paintings reflect the tone of the tale, with the dark palette used in Offoros journey giving way to lighter and softer colors as Offoro recognizes Christ. Hodges, a gifted storyteller, incorporates elements of folklore in her sparse but dramatic retelling.

    School Library Journal

    Hodges does a fine job of adapting and retelling the saints story from William Caxtons 15th-century Golden Legend, acknowledging that these tales were not meant to be historical. Offero has a desire to serve the greatest king in the world. He serves a variety of masters, including a monarch and a cruel devil, believing each is the greatest ruler, until the sign of a cross causes the devil to flee, and Offero looks for Christ. A hermit tells him that he should take travelers across the river to find Christ, and one night he carries a young boy who becomes so heavy that he feels like the world is on his shoulders. The child is Christ, carrying the burdens of the world. Changing the mans name to Christopher, which means the Christ-bearer, Christ sends him back to the river to continue helping travelers. Hodgess style is fluid and has the cadence and rhythm of an experienced storyteller. The text is well illustrated by Watsons sometimes complex, full-page paintings done in oils on acrylic. While the figures are realistic, the backgrounds are mysterious and impressionistic, dark and somewhat foreboding until after the encounter with Christ, when they become infused with light. As she did in St. Jerome and the Lion (Orchard, 1991; o.p.), Hodges brings the story to life for young readers.-Jane G. Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia.



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