Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story

Overview

The wind groaned and swirled that night and likely it seemed to tear the thatch from the roof. But when the baby gave her first cry, the wind shushed to a whisper and the stars began to sing.

Brigid's Cloak retells an ancient tale about one of Ireland's most beloved saints. On the day she is born Brigid receives a brilliant blue cloak from a mysterious Druid. Years later, the young girl still wears the now tattered but beloved cloak while she tends her sheep. Is it her ...

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Overview

The wind groaned and swirled that night and likely it seemed to tear the thatch from the roof. But when the baby gave her first cry, the wind shushed to a whisper and the stars began to sing.

Brigid's Cloak retells an ancient tale about one of Ireland's most beloved saints. On the day she is born Brigid receives a brilliant blue cloak from a mysterious Druid. Years later, the young girl still wears the now tattered but beloved cloak while she tends her sheep. Is it her imagination that suddenly takes her to an unfamiliar land? Or is it something far greater that leads Brigid to a crowded inn in a town called Bethlehem?

Bryce Milligan's eloquently told story about Brigid is a moving tale of compassion and wonder. Beautifully illustrated by Helen Cann, Brigid's Cloak sparkles with the timelessness of legend and the transcending power of faith.

Relates a legend about the Irish slave girl who became Saint Brigid, beginning with a celestial song, a mysterious gift, and a prophecy on the night of her birth.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Told with the gripping delivery of a well-seasoned storyteller, this tale of a fifth-century Irish saint has the broad appeal of folklore while retaining the power to inspire religious awe. Milligan (With the Wind; Kevin Dolan) draws in readers immediately with his evocation of "a wild and windy night" when the slave daughter of a warrior prince is born. The infant receives a visit from a Druid: "I am one of the fathers of old Ireland. I greet little Brigid, who will be a mother to the new Ireland that is to come." The Druid gives Brigid a blue cloak and blesses her with magic. Ten years later, Brigid finds herself mystically transported to a stable in Bethlehem, where a man named Joseph introduces himself and his wife, Mary: "Brigid felt as one does when a candle is lit in a very dark room." She lends Mary her cloak, and blesses Mary and her child. Returning to her own world, Brigid longs for the family in the stable-but her cloak is now covered with tiny glowing stars. Cann (The Loving Arms of God) matches Milligan's deceptively easy mix of intimacy and awe with her clear, slightly stylized watercolors. Her Brigid is plain and sturdy, with cropped red hair and freckles, her holy family tired but inwardly directed. Borders along the bottom of the spreads incorporate Celtic motifs, echoed within the illustrations with such patterns as the Druid's flowing locks of white hair, the sheep's curling wool, the striping on the rams' horns. Readers don't have to share Brigid's faith to enjoy this story, but those who do may find that faith strengthened. Ages 4-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
When Brigid was born over fifteen centuries ago in Ireland, a powerful Druid gave her a brilliant blue cloak. "Druids worshipped the moon and the tree spirits, and they talked to the fairy folk who lived beneath the hills. And everyone knew that Druids could tell the future." The Druid was told to bring the cloak in a dream. The color blue was rare as it was only for royalty. Brigid wore her cloak as she grew and tended her sheep. Because she was a Christian, Brigid always offered a prayer of thanks for the safety of her animals. During one prayer, she suddenly found herself transported to a strange land as an innkeeper's helper. But when the holy family arrived in Bethlehem, Brigid knew just what to do. She gave Mary her warm cloak. Brigid became one of the most beloved saints of Ireland and her cloak is a sign of protection to the people. Exquisite mixed media illustrations, with rich patterns and texture, shimmer on every page. A beautiful story set to evocative paintings that will be a treasure to share again and again. 2002, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers,
— Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
K Up-This legend of one of Ireland's most beloved saints recalls how Brigid was presented at birth with a royal blue cloak by an old Druid. As he blessed her, he pronounced that she would be mother to the new Ireland. Years later, while tending her flock of sheep in her worn blue cloak, she finds herself transported back in time and place to the night in the stable in Bethlehem where the Christ child was born. Upon waking, she is back home once more in Ireland, transformed by her experience, and discovers that her old cloak is deep, rich blue again and embellished with stars. Attractively designed, full-page watercolor and mixed-media illustrations, framed with geometric patterned borders, enhance the timeless story.-Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802852243
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Bryce Milligan is the author of five historical novels and short story collections for young adults, including the award winning With the Wind, Kevin Dolan (Corona). A poet, publisher, and teacher, Bryce Milligan lives in San Antonio, Texas.

She has illustrated many books for children, including Mary's Story (Barefoot Books), Heroic Children (Barefoot Books), and Who Laid the Cornerstone of the World? (Lion). Helen lives in Surrey, England.

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