Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book of the Week

Brother Hugo and the Bear

by Katy Beebe
Illustrated by S. D. Schindler

Published by Eerdmans, 2014
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5407-0

                                               Ages 5-9

Brother Hugo is a medieval monk with an overdue library book he can’t return: It was eaten by a bear. The Abbott sends him to another monastery to borrow their edition of St. Augustine, and gives him the charge of copying it. It’s a long journey there and back, and an even more laborious process writing the manuscript out by hand, illuminating the letters, and, finally, sewing the pages together. But his fellow monks help him prepare everything he needs: sheepskin, goose quill pen, the ingredients for different colored inks. Finally the task is complete, and he must return the original to the monks at Grand Chartreuse. But who’s that lumbering along behind him? Katy Beebe provides an engaging and fascinating look into the world of medieval manuscripts in a story delightfully imagined and told. S. D. Schindler’s pen-and-ink illustrations are wonderfully detailed and a perfect fit. Terrific notes illuminate the author’s inspiration and research for the story, and the illustrator’s twenty-first century process that in many ways, he notes, is not unlike what Brother Hugo might have done hundreds of years before.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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