Saint Francis of Assisi: Who Spoke to the Animals

32p. reprods. Minedition. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9789888341443.
Gr 2–5—In a hagiographic style, Elschner relates the life of Francis of Assisi: his privileged youth, his calling to rebuild the house of God, his renunciation of worldly riches, the establishment of the Franciscan order, his preaching and miracles, and his eventual death. The story is arranged chronologically, and each page features a brief quote from Pope Francis. The text is accompanied by images from famous paintings by artists such as Fra Angelico, Jan van Eyck, Giovanni Bellini, and others. Though a few pages mention that Francis spoke about one subject or another, the text includes no direct quotations from the saint himself. Francis's powerful preaching, his embrace of poverty, and his love for nature are emphasized throughout. The writing style is occasionally flowery ("The joy was great! And how great the thanks and the honor for this extraordinary man of God"), but it is well suited to the lavish quality of the reproduced artwork. As a basic introduction to the life of St. Francis, this book fills a niche, with the added benefit of exposure to some great works of Western art.
VERDICT Best suited for parochial libraries, as well as religion collections in large public libraries.

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