Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 242

Picture Book: Brother Sun, Sister Moon: Saint Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures

Author: Saint Francis of Assisi

Adaptor: Katherine Paterson

Illustrator: Pamela Dalton

Summary: This is a reimagining of the beautiful hymn of praise to God called Canticle of the Creatures or Canticle of the Sun, written by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1224. The text is a prayer of gratitude for various aspects of God’s creation such as the sun and moon in the title. Also, lauded are fire, water, weather, etc. The illustrations are extraordinary scherenschnitte, the art of paper cutting.

Hanna’s Comments: Reading this book is a doubly wonderful experience. The verse is refreshing as it praises some of God's blessings in a unique sort of phrasing. A complete translation of the canticle in English is in the back of the book. You’ll find comments from the author and illustrator in the back as well. I was especially intrigued by this Katherine Paterson comment about her experience of adapting the canticle: “It was such a wonderful exercise to see myself as close kin to all the rest of the natural world… even to look death in the face and call her my sister.” Also, the visual artistry is stunning. Be sure to point out to young audiences that the illustrations are detailed paper cuts. Do give them some biographical information on Saint Francis beforehand, and you might want to mention that the current Pope Francis is inspired and named after Saint Francis, a name he chose.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Chronicle Books, 2011

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 36

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, There is a video on Youtube that is this song as presented in a movie with the same title. I’ve not seen the movie so I can’t recommend it, but you might want to check it out.  

PBT Category: God book, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, adoration, awe, beauty, blessings, choir/music/singing/songs, contemplation, creation, Earth/world, the environment/nature, gratitude/thanksgiving, moon/space/stars/sun, prayer, response to God, reverence, wonder, worship

Scripture Connections: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1); the universe was created by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3); worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

Idea(s) for Application: This book could be read to a group of children when studying Saint Francis, songs of praise, prayers of thanksgiving, or when focusing on the natural world of God’s creation. 

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