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Caedmon's Song Hardcover – January 26, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (January 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802852416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802852410
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #850,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3–Ashby introduces a seventh-century man often called the first English poet. Caedmon was a cowherd who, ironically, detested poetry. He lived in an oral society and everyone else seemed capable of storytelling but him. When a tongue-tied Caedmon left a feast early and went to sleep with his cows, he dreamed of a man who commanded him to sing about what he knew. He opened his mouth and the words of his best-known poem, Caedmons Hymn, came out. When he awoke, he told his friend, who deemed it a miracle. He gave up his cows to live as a monk and to create songs. The text is clear and direct; mercifully, Ashby makes no attempt to re-create the Old English spoken in Caedmons time (other than in a biographical note at the end). She creates a sympathetic protagonist, a man who is not ambitious but who, when the time is right, answers his calling. A modern audience might find this calling unusual, but they will certainly relate to the awkwardness and inadequacy he feels, and the satisfaction he takes from what is comfortable and familiar to him. Slavins acrylic illustrations complement the story, sometimes re-creating Caedmons world, sometimes re-creating the look of an ancient manuscript. This book will appeal to children who like historical fiction, but it will be too difficult for new readers to tackle on their own.–Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA
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About the Author

Ruth Ashby a writer, editor and English teacher has written a number of books for children. She lives in New York, USA.

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Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RS on March 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This charmingly illustrated book retells the story of Caedmon, the first Anglo Saxon poet known to us by name,from Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English people. Caedmon, a cowherd, flees the great hall each night when the harp is passed to him, since he is unable to compose a song / poem to sing to his companions. One night, however, a mysterious stranger instructs him in a dream in the art of poetry, and Caedmon returns to his companions able to sing and compose poems about all that has happened "since the creation of world and the beginnings of the human race." The text is accompanied by a biographical note that includes the Old English text of Caedmon's Hymn (the only surviving fragment of Caedmon's poetry) and a brief introduction to Old English vocabulary. Recommended for anyone interested in introducing children to the history and literature of Anglo Saxon England.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Written by Ruth Ashby and illustrated by Bill Slavin, Caedmon's Song is a picturebook rendition of the true story of Caedmon, the seventh-century cowheard who became known as the first English poet. For years, during festivals, Caedmon was unable to take the harp passed around and sing of bloody or savage battles - but one night inspiration struck, and he thought to sing of what he knew. He sang of his faith in the Lord, and praise for God's creations. He found his true calling as a monk, and his place in history. A profound spiritual tale, brought beautifully to life with full-color artwork.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kate in Sacramento on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Caedmon's Song is a book I like for many reasons. I found this story many years ago and have used it for our medieval studies. I love the history of the real Caedmon that it is based upon and this book brings that to life.

Surrounded by storytellers, yet unable to bring his thoughts to life in that way, we learn what changes Caedmon. A plain cowherd, he is surrounded by cattle and the open sky. His life is simple, but the glory of the world around him reflects the glory of God. He is changed by a dream.

"There is no poetry in me."

"There is poetry in everyone," the man replied. "Now, sing me a song."

"But I have nothing to sing about."

"Surely you do. Sing about the things you know."

What did he know? Caedmon thought.

As his dream continued, Caedmon thought about the warm breath of cows on a frosty morning and the bleats of newborn calves. He thought about cool green dawns and fiery red sunsets. About meadows sparkling with dew and hawks circling the sky. About gray seas and purple flowers. He thought about the stars.

And he opened his mouth and sang..."

His life is changed. It is a story about stories, about a time long gone when people sat around the fire and shared history through poetry and minstrelsy. It is a lovely book.
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