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The Song of Francis

The Song of Francis

5.0 2
by Tomie dePaola

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Francis is so full of God's love that he wants to sing His praises. His glorious singing inspires birds of every color, and even the sun and moon, to join him in joyful celebration.

Tomie dePaola's simple text and vibrant illustrations bring the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi to life for even the youngest children. And he reminds us how sweet it is to rejoice


Francis is so full of God's love that he wants to sing His praises. His glorious singing inspires birds of every color, and even the sun and moon, to join him in joyful celebration.

Tomie dePaola's simple text and vibrant illustrations bring the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi to life for even the youngest children. And he reminds us how sweet it is to rejoice and give thanks for life and love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Introducing Francis of Assisi to the very young, dePaola retells the story of the saint's sermon to the birds, omitting any references to preaching and without identifying it as an episode from the saint's life. Instead, he depicts Francis as a solitary man "so filled with the love of God that he wanted to sing, to tell everyone how much God loved them." The small blond angel who accompanies him everywhere tells him to sing even though he is alone, as God will hear him, and Francis begins, first inviting Brother Sun and Sister Moon, and then singing to the birds: "Come and bless the Lord, because the Lord loves you." One by one, the birds come (dePaola names them by their colors), and then angels follow. Despite the small color lesson, there's not much of a story line; adults will have to rely on their ability to read aloud with genuine warmth in order to make a success of this text. The novel choice of media-collage using cut-up Avery labels colored with paintmarkers-yields a flower-power aesthetic, with Matisse-like stars and foliage thrown in, too. Ages 3-5. (Feb.)

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Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Saint Francis of Assisi was known for his love of God and his singing of praise for all creation. DePaola imagines a time when Saint Francis was all alone, except for a small angel who followed him everywhere. The joy in his heart was so great that Francis sang to Brother Sun and Sister Moon. His song swelled into the blessing of the birds of the air. Birds of all colors flocked to listen. Then they joined him in making a glorious sound. Angels came and added their voices to the song of love. When the song was over, Saint Francis was once again alone with his angel. He promised to sing again the next day. Bright, vibrant pictures fill the pages with colorful birds, flowers, and curly-headed angels. This is a beautiful book for one-on-one sharing between an adult and a child. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1

This simple narrative introduces St. Francis to a younger audience than dePaola's Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi (Holiday House, 1982). Francis, the "Little Poor One," is lonely and has no one to hear his song about God's love. An angel tells him to sing anyway and soon Francis's song draws Brother Sun and Sister Moon, and the angels and birds come to listen. dePaola's tropical-hued collages convey the magic of this religious interpretation in an appealing way. Particularly charming are the cherubic angels and beatific faces of the sun and moon. Preschoolers will be drawn to the spread depicting a rainbow of birds flocking to St. Francis. A joyful addition to public and religious collections.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI

Kirkus Reviews
A beautiful celebration of simplicity and joy for the very youngest children. Francis is full of the love of God and wants to sing out, but he is alone. Brother Son and Sister Moon join him, as do all the birds of the air in every color: red, orange, yellow, green, violet, brown, black, white. The birds sing with him, and the angels come to listen: "Love, love, love." Tomorrow, he tells the small angel who is always with him, "I shall sing again." Using painted collage on watercolor paper, dePaola achieves a vivid and muscular color, and Matisse-inspired shapes form birds, angels, stars and growing things; Francis is a barefoot, tonsured monk. The center spread is wordless, full of angels, stars, birds, sun and moon in a pale gold sky, the whole surpassingly sweet. With this effort, the artist refines the saint's Canticle of the Sun/Canticle of the Creatures to an irreducible essence of joy in all creation. Glorious. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Group
File size:
19 MB
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Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934 to a family of Irish and Italian background. By the time he could hold a pencil, he knew what his life's work would be. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California.

It drove him through the years of teaching, designing greeting cards and stage sets, and painting church murals until 1965, when he illustrated his first children's book, Sound, by Lisa Miller for Coward-McCann. Eventually, freed of other obligations, he plunged full time into both writing and illustrating children's books.

He names Fra Angelico and Giotto, Georges Rouault, and Ben Shahn as major influences on his work, but he soon found his own unique style. His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration.

Tomie dePaola has published almost 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He remains one of the most popular creators of books for children, receiving more than 100,000 fan letters each year.

Tomie lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.

- He has been published for over 30 years.
- Over 5 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.
- His books have been published in over 15 different countries.
- He receives nearly 100,000 fan letters each year.

Tomie dePaola has received virtually every significant recognition forhis books in the children's book world, including:

- Caldecott Honor Award from American Library Association
- Newbery Honor Award from American Library Association
- Smithson Medal from Smithsonian Institution
- USA nominee in illustration for Hans Christian Andersen Medal
- Regina Medal from Catholic Library Association

From the Hardcover edition.

Brief Biography

Connecticut and New Hampshire
Date of Birth:
September 15, 1935
Place of Birth:
Meriden, CT

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The Song of Francis 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just love all of Tomie dePaola books - and this one does not dissappoint. Colorful illustrations with always a lesson. A joy to read to children of all ages
socraticparenting More than 1 year ago
The Song of Francis by award-winning author and illustrator Tomie dePaola, introduces preschoolers to the joyful spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is alone except for a small angel who follows him everywhere and calls him “Little Poor One.” Yet Frances is so filled with the love of God that he begins to sing. “Come and bless the Lord, because the Lord loves you.” The sun and moon and birds of all colors join him in the glorious song. The sun eventually leaves the sky, but God’s love remains in the silence. And Francis promises to sing again tomorrow. The illustrations in this heart-warming book are as exuberant as the text. DePaola creates a colorful collage on every page by painting watercolor backgrounds on 100% rag bristol paper and adding Avery labels painted with Prismacolor markers. The angels in the story who come to listen to Francis sing all resemble a very young dePaola and might appeal to a wider audience if they were as diverse as the birds and plants and stars. Still, this is a book that all children and parents will love to read together and read again tomorrow. DePaola carefully crafts his words and art into a story that speaks directly to the hearts of children. A child who is feeling lonely will know that God’s love is always with him. Like Francis, he can surround himself with love by loving everything around him. A child who is feeling happy will naturally celebrate along with Francis. Parents will rejoice in the peaceful, nurturing atmosphere The Song of Francis generates. This is a wonderful read-aloud book for bedtime or anytime. The language is simple enough for young readers to follow and quickly be able to read for themselves. This book is intended for children ages 3-5 years (Putnam Juvenile/Penguin Group website). Laurie A. Gray Reprinted from the Christian Library Journal (Vol. XIV, No. 1, February 2010); used with permission.