Third graders can read this vivid retelling of the familiar St. Francis legend while somewhat older children will not feel it is written down to them. Chiefly the emphasis is on the young Francis, his boyhood in Assisi, his yearning to be a knight, his mischief, his comrades. Occasionally, there are flashes of the Saint -- but he serves first in the wars between the city states- then as a prisoner- then goes to Rome to study, before the awareness of his vocation outweighs the more wordly demands. Throughout, his love for nature, animals and birds, children- even a sight of his sympathy with the sick and poor, give glimpses of the man he was to grow to be. The story ends, when he welcomes an old boyhood friend into the Order he has founded.