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SACRED PLACES by Philemon Sturges Kirkus Star


by Philemon Sturges & illustrated by Giles Laroche

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-399-23317-2
Publisher: Putnam

The creators of Bridges Are to Cross (1998) tour places where adherents of five religions (Judaism is split into pre- and post-Mosaic, with the former also linked to Islam) worship: churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, shrines, even a river. Laroche depicts the 28 sites in elaborate, finely detailed low-relief paper collages; some, such as India’s Shri Meenakshi Amman Temple, dizzying whirls of towers and ornaments, others—the Wailing Wall, New Hampshire’s Henniker Friends Meeting House—plain and functional. People are visible in nearly all, showing scale and also reminding viewers that sacred places, grand or not, are integral parts of every community. Sturges’s poetic text, which runs in large type above descriptive paragraphs for each picture, carries the same message. It’s a quick trip, providing only glimpses of our array of belief systems and religious practices, but it’s as much a reverent spiritual journey as a world-spanning physical one, and the art both invites and rewards long, careful looking as it is truly awe-inspiring. (map, notes on religions) (Nonfiction. 8+)