Francis Woke Up Early

( 1 )

Overview

While other children’s religious titles focus on Saint Francis of Assisi as an adult, few, if any, have concentrated on the early life of the patron saint of animals and the environment. Stunning illustrations punctuate this beautifully told story of Saint Francis as a boy as he communes with nature and treats even the fiercest of animals—a hungry wolf—with the same compassion he would show his grandmother. In a fearless display of courage, tolerance, and understanding, the young Francis makes peace with the ...

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Overview

While other children’s religious titles focus on Saint Francis of Assisi as an adult, few, if any, have concentrated on the early life of the patron saint of animals and the environment. Stunning illustrations punctuate this beautifully told story of Saint Francis as a boy as he communes with nature and treats even the fiercest of animals—a hungry wolf—with the same compassion he would show his grandmother. In a fearless display of courage, tolerance, and understanding, the young Francis makes peace with the wolf, foreshadowing his teachings of harmony with the world around us and man’s duty to protect nature.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A beautiful marriage of author, illustrator, and subject is celebrated in this story of young Francis of Assisi, the saint who cared for animals and the natural world. Young Francis is awake before the rest of his slumbering household and makes his way to the barnyard for milk and eggs for his breakfast. On his way, he encounters a wolf that has been prowling the countryside. Francis knows what to do to ensure a peaceful day. The not factual but appealingly probable story is based on Francis’s storied encounter with the wolf of Gubbio. Hyde’s work, her first publication in a quarter-century, perfectly captures early morning light in 13th-century Assisi. The bordered paintings are filled with tender detail: birds flapping everywhere, butterflies fluttering like confetti, a cat “snoring at the hearth.” This exquisite book will make peaceful family reading. All ages. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Taking liberties with both the history and the mythology of St. Francis of Assisi, Nobisso re-creates an imagined morning in the life of a boy who has within him the makings of a saint. Francis awakes before anyone in his household and, going into the barnyard to secure an egg and some milk for breakfast, he encounters the famed wolf (usually of Gubbio, but here from Assisi). In a moment of wordless communication, he shares his breakfast with her and they walk peacefully home together. The simple narrative is well served by Hyde's paintings. According to the author's postscript, the illustrator took years to achieve the right balance of light for the artwork, and the pictures are indeed compelling. A nicely done addition to collections that emphasize Catholic saints.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews
An imagined tale of Francis of Assisi as a boy doing good foreshadows later saintly activities. His Nonna, his Babbo, his Mamma and the maid are all still asleep, but Francis moves quietly in the dawn. Everyone is tired from staying up the night before, worrying about the she-wolf threatening the town and the livestock. When Francis goes out to tend the animals, he sees the shadow of the wolf. He brings the wolf an egg and some goat's milk in a bowl, and she departs, leaving child and farm animals in peace, a presaging of the older Francis' actions in the legend of the Wolf of Gubbio. Nobisso laces her telling with a surfeit of modifiers. The wolf has "intelligent eyes," a "magnificent head" and "muscular ears nimbly twitching." Hyde's oil paintings are beautiful in a soft-focus kind of way, although they reflect a more High Renaissance style than Francis' late-12th-century boyhood. Full-page images are bordered with leaves, flowers and geometric patterns, and the palette is ash rose, stone and gold. Nobisso's dedication is in Italian, to her aunts and cousins, and while the few Italian words in the text are fairly clear, it is too bad she does not note that Nonna is Grandma and Babbo is Daddy. Heartfelt, if florid. (creators' note, author's postscript) (Picture book/religion. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780940112223
  • Publisher: Gingerbread House
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,432,139
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Josephine Nobisso is an award-winning author of more than 50 books, including Take It to the Queen, Show; Don’t Tell!, and Weight of a Mass. Her titles have earned her Learning Magazine’s Teacher’s Choice Award and a citation in Parent Magazine for Best Books of the Year, among numerous other awards. She lives in Westhampton Beach, New York. Maureen Hyde is an artist and a professor at The Florence Academy of Art in Italy.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted March 12, 2012

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    A Mom¿s Choice Awards Recipient!

    Francis Woke Up Early is the recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, Ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times Best-Selling Author; and LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

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