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MAGIC IN THE MARGINS by W. Nikola-Lisa

MAGIC IN THE MARGINS

A Medieval Tale of Bookmaking

By W. Nikola-Lisa (Author) , Bonnie Christensen (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: May 14th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-618-49642-6
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Inspired by a vignette in a medieval manuscript, Nikola-Lisa introduces Simon, a talented young scriptorium apprentice whose artistic awakening comes only after the Abbot tells him to capture the mice with which the monastery is afflicted. Wondering what that could have to do with art, Simon sets out to catch the elusive creatures—and though he fails to lay hands on any, in time he does come to realize that “capture” means observing them closely and, on an additional hint from the Abbot, using his imagination to draw them with life and humor. Herself using medieval styles and materials, Christensen decorates the margins surrounding the text and her large, simply painted illustrations with leafy vines and small human figures, as well as fanciful flora and fauna. It’s salutary reading for budding artists, though those who want to know how manuscripts were actually produced and illuminated will find more detail in Bruce Robertson’s Marguerite Makes a Book (1999), illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt, or Deborah Nourse Lattimore’s Sailor Who Captured the Sea: A Story of the Book of Kells (1991). (afterword) (Picture book. 7-9)