A brief introduction to the early Christian mystic and saint.
Anthony lived in the third and fourth centuries C.E., in Egypt. Both his extremely ascetic life and his role as the father of monasticism are described in ways that make them accessible to young children. When Anthony’s parents die, leaving him with the care of his younger sister, he sells everything he owns, provides for his sister’s care, and “sets out with nothing to find something.” He is assailed by “wrong thoughts” and temptations, described as coming from the devil. But he turns to God and continues to repel the devil. He settles in an old fort, alone, where his friends bring him food, and people move near the fort to hear Anthony speak. His message is that wrong thoughts come to everyone, but they can be overcome by “right thoughts” (“like being patient and caring for his friends”) that bring one nearer to God. Later, he moves even further into the desert, living to 105. Throughout, he lives consciously, rejecting wrong thoughts and cultivating right ones. The pictures use many Egyptian, Persian, and Middle Eastern patterns and motifs, and Anthony’s age is tracked by the length of his beard.
While not destined to have wide appeal, the book tells the story of a saint deeply important in both the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox traditions, filling a critical niche. (appendix, timeline, further reading, map, glossary) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)