ACROSS A DARK AND WILD SEA by Don Brown
Kirkus Star

ACROSS A DARK AND WILD SEA

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Brown (A Voice from the Wilderness, 2001, etc.) continues his series of picture-book biographies of lesser-known figures with a tale of the life of Saint Columcille, the sixth-century prince and monk better known by the Latin form of his name, Columba. In Ireland in Columcille’s time, “Reading and writing were like magic, and the people who knew their secrets as rare as wizards. Columcille became one of them.” When a former teacher, Finnian, would not permit him to copy a book of psalms, he did so in secret. The high king Diarmait ruled that the copy, too, belonged to Finnian and a fierce battle erupted. Though Columcille got his book back, he was devastated at the bloodshed, and took a leather boat to Iona, off the coast of Scotland. The monastery he founded there, and its scriptorium, dispatched books “like small boats on a dark and wild sea.” Reading as magical and books as worthy of being fought over are lovely lessons laid out in this powerful story. Brown’s usual tender watercolors take on a darker hue. Double-paged, wordless spreads of the battle and of the sea add to the depth of the images, as do lucid step-by-step pictures of the making of a manuscript book and the building of a coracle (leather boat). An alphabet of exquisite Irish uncial letters and an author’s note add to the richness. This works on many levels to delight and to inspire: as a stirring read-aloud, as a saint’s biography, and as a beautiful picture book. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7613-1534-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2002




GREAT ST. PATRICK'S DAY READS FOR CHILDREN & TEENS:

Children THE DREAMS OF MAIRHE MEHAN by Jennifer Armstrong
by Jennifer Armstrong
Children BLACK POTATOES by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Children LEPRECHAUN GOLD by Teresa Bateman
by Teresa Bateman
Children NEVER WERE MEN SO BRAVE by Susan Provost Beller
by Susan Provost Beller

MORE BY DON BROWN

ChildrenTHE GREAT AMERICAN DUST BOWL by Don Brown
by Don Brown
ChildrenHENRY AND THE CANNONS by Don Brown
by Don Brown

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE WIZARD MOUSE by Dean Morrissey
by Dean Morrissey
ChildrenBROTHER HUGO AND THE BEAR by Katy Beebe
by Katy Beebe