The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane
Overview - Winner of the 2011 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. In a monastery in the mountains of Mourne during the Middle Ages, one young monk struggled to focus on his task: copying the Bible and other scholarly books with plain brown ink made from wood bark in plain brown books in his plain brown robe at his plain brown desk. Read more...
More About The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C. M. Millen; Andrea Wisnewski
Winner of the 2011 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award.
In a monastery in the mountains of Mourne during the Middle Ages, one young monk struggled to focus on his task: copying the Bible and other scholarly books with plain brown ink made from wood bark in plain brown books in his plain brown robe at his plain brown desk. Brother Theophane was soon transferred from the scribe's room and assigned to make the ink that the brothers used. With his natural curiosity, Theophane discovered that inks could be made from other plants besides the wood bark. Berries and leaves produced other beautiful colors. And soon, the books the monks made were illuminated with colors and drawings.
C.M. Millen's charming story of a young monk who defied the discipline of the monastery and found his own way to express the beauty of the world will inspire young readers to explore their own world and find their own voices.
Andrea Wisnewski's illustrations, inspired by the illuminated letters that the medieval monks created in books like the Book of Kells, bring to life the colors and beauty that surrounded Brother Theophane amidst the plain world of the monastery.
- ISBN-13: 9781580891790
- ISBN-10: 1580891799
- Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing
- Publish Date: July 2010
- Page Count: 28
- Reading Level: Ages 5-8
- Dimensions: 11.36 x 9.1 x 0.41 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Historical - General
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Wisnewski's (Little Red Riding Hood) intricate, woodblock-like portraits of Irish monastery life are this book's principal charm. She portrays with loving attention the plants and flowers young monk Theophane uses to create colored inks, and frames the text with illuminations of her own. Through Theophane, Millen (Blue Bowl Down) speculates about the origin of the inks used in illuminated Irish manuscripts like the Book of Kells ("Heavenly hues/ now covered their pages/ and filled their bright books/ with colorful phrases"). But Millen is also beguiled by the marginalia included by monks in those manuscripts, and includes several, attributing them to Theophane: "I render thanks for what is given--/ my claw is tired from all this scribbling!" Mostly pleasant hymns to nature, these verses don't move the story forward. The sound-rhymed verse ("He sliced and he slivered,/ he grated and chopped,/ preparing the plants/ to be boiled in pots") lacks crispness, and so does the story as a whole; the message about how distractible people (Theophane is rather scatterbrained) are open to new discoveries is lost amid the too-varied content. Ages 6–9. (July)