This is the winner of the Julia Ellsworth Ford Foundation contest, and is a distinquished addition to a growing list of memorable juvenile books. First, the reasons why I feel that it is distinguished. Lucy Embury, author of Painted Saints, writes with the rhythm and quality of poetry, and a depth of feeling for nature and beauty, wherever it lies. The background of sixth century Ireland, where a growing conception of the importance of scholarship was bringing to it scholars from other parts of a world sunk in ignorance, is unusual. But the book, for me at least, had the same weaknesses of Painted Saints, a thinness of story sense, an inclination to let the aesthetic overbalance the practical, so that at times the story utterly escapes one. It would take a very precocious and imaginative child to appreciate the mature quality of the book. And I do not think the rather stark illustrations by Russel Hamilton will stimulate any additional enthusiasm. Maybe I am wrong.