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THE HOLY TWINS by Kathleen Norris


Benedict and Scholastica

by Kathleen Norris & illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23424-1
Publisher: Putnam

DePaola’s inexhaustible wellspring of creativity is never more evident than in ecclesiastical subjects, and in this biography of the twin saints, Benedict and Scholastica, he has outdone himself. Luminous color and suppleness of line shape the narrative, whose progression can be traced along the borders and through the central panels as in illuminated manuscripts. Norris, who has written with intelligence and discernment about spirituality for adults, fares a little less well in writing for children. Overlong sentences sometimes impede the flow in reading aloud; too much information occasionally clogs the story. And it’s a wonderful story—of twin siblings growing up in the hills of Umbria, of a young man disillusioned by study in the city of Rome, seeking first to serve God by living alone and then to serve further by creating a rule under which those who chose could live together in God’s service. Scholastica stayed at the convent where she was educated, and among other tales, Norris relates the one where she kept her brother visiting through the night, despite his protestations, because she knew it was the last time she would see him. An author’s note explains the history of the Rule of St. Benedict, which is still followed today. There’s always a place for dePaola’s work; older children, or those intent on connecting the words to the beautiful pictures, will find their attention amply repaid. (Biography. 7-10)