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BROTHER BARTHOLOMEW AND THE APPLE GROVE by Jan Cheripko

BROTHER BARTHOLOMEW AND THE APPLE GROVE

By Jan Cheripko (Author) , Kestutis Kasparavicius (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2004
ISBN: 1-59078-096-5
Publisher: Boyds Mills

A sweetly drawn morality tale with a mixed, muddled, and overstated message. Brother Bartholomew tends the monastery apple trees, but he’s old, and the deer get in through the broken fence. Young brother Stephen aches to get charge of the orchard, he’ll mend the fence and keep the deer out and won’t everyone praise his good work. Before Brother Bartholomew dies, he leaves Brother Stephen with a message, but Stephen doesn’t hear it. He rebuilds the fence, even putting barbed wire above it, but when a great buck tangles itself in the fence, Stephen realizes his pride. He releases the deer, takes down the fence, and shares the apples. As he grows old, another young monk wonders at the broken fence and the deer, but Stephen repeats what Brother Bartholomew said: “God will provide.” If the lesson is that pride goeth before a fall, that’s unclear; if the lesson is that we should live in peace with all creatures, why does the deer have Brother Bartholomew’s eyes? And surely no monastery would be as badly overseen as this one. Not very good for children, nor for adults either. (Picture book. 6-8)