SAINT FRANCIS AND THE WOLF

The people of Gubbio, threatened by a hungry, howling wolf, are trapped inside the walls of their city. Francis, the 12th-century Italian saint, who has given away all that he had, comes to address the beast. Francis secures its promise that if the town will feed the wolf, they will not have to fear for their children or their livestock. Langton, a fine and venerable writer for children and adults, couches the familiar story in clear cadences. Plume’s illustrations are exquisite: A framed image in dry pure colors faces each page of text in a lovely, readable font. A grace note—flowers, fruit, vines—at the bottom of each page of text reflects a motif of the facing image. Francis’s “Canticle of the Sun” fills the endpapers, surrounded by flowers and small creatures. About as different in form and feeling from Michael Bedard’s The Wolf of Gubbio (2000) as can be imagined, but captures the same luminous, sweet essence of the tale. (Nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-56792-320-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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ELIZABETI'S DOLL

Charmed by her new baby brother, Elizabeti decides that she wants a baby of her own; she picks up a smooth rock, names it Eva and washes, feeds, and changes her, and carries her about in her cloth kanga. Hale dresses Elizabeti and her family in modern, brightly patterned clothing that practically glows against the earth-toned, sketchily defined Tanzanian village in which this is set. Although Eva appears a bit too large for Elizabeti to handle as easily as she does, the illustrations reflect the story’s simplicity; accompanied by an attentive hen, Elizabeti follows her indulgent mother about, mimicking each nurturing activity. The object of Elizabeti’s affection may be peculiar, but the love itself is real. Later, she rescues Eva from the fire pit, tenderly cleans her, then cradles the stone until she—Elizabeti—falls asleep. Stuve-Bodeen’s debut is quirky but believable, lightly dusted with cultural detail, and features universal emotions in an unusual setting. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-880000-70-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1998

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WILD, WILD WOLVES

At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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