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Saint Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy Hardcover – March 2, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4–Kennedy's passion for nature and lifelong connection to this saint are evident in both the narrative and introduction, in which he reveals his personal convictions. The book paints Francis in glowing terms (with some fictionalized dialogue), weaving together the major threads of his life: his early kindness to beggars in his family's fabric shop; his call to and ultimate rejection of a military career; his estrangement from his wealthy father; and his ministry to lepers, the impoverished, and animals. The famous prayer, "Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace…," is printed across the bottom of the pages. Nolan's oil paintings render realistic figures in carefully staged scenes. The architecture and landscape of Assisi are accurately captured, although the New Age angel depicted at the conclusion is anachronistic. While much of the information overlaps with that found in Guido Visconti's Clare and Francis (Eerdmans, 2004), the telling and aesthetic are quite different; the books will appeal to vastly different audiences. The book has no source notes or bibliography. Purchase where religious picture-book biographies are in high demand.–Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. Sharing the middle name of Francis with his father, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. felt especially close to St. Francis while growing up, and the gentle saint continues to play an important part in his personal and family life. Here Kennedy offers a straightforward telling of Francis' life that, nonetheless, seems imbued with the splendor of the saint's mission. As Kennedy notes in his introduction, Francis' life was so full that not everything about it could be included. But his well-told biography, which introduces Francis as a frivolous yet charming King of Youth and follows him to his welcoming "Sister Death," also describes incidents such as Francis' reconciliation with the wolf of Grubbio and his relationship with St. Clare, who started an order of nuns similar to the Franciscan brothers' order. The book is illustrated with full-page, realistic paintings, which, while technically adept, have little sense of wonder or mystery. It's the words (including Francis' Canticle of the Sun on the back cover) that paint the pictures in this book. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; 1St Edition edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786818751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786818754
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Atkinson Brown on March 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I saw Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. talk about his book on Good Morning America, I rushed out to buy a copy. My mom always

had a Saint Francis figurine out in the garden and the story

about him has always been an inspiration to me.

Though this book may be advertised as a child's book, it really

is for any one at any age. Each page has exquisite illustrations done by Dennis Nolan; each page has has a verse

and an accompanying full page illustration and calligraphic letters.

Whether young or old, you should read this book. It will make you think about plants and animals - our most endangered resources - and will give you a different view after you've read it.

Lovely work. Beautiful story.

Valerie Atkinson Brown

Author, International Thomson Publishing
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book for people of all ages. It is full of hope and wonder and teaches us all, as the author's farther did, "to seek a newer world". The protection of our animals, birds and overall environment is more important today then it was in St. Francis' time and his life story is told with wit and grace by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. As one who was an intern in Senator Kennedy's ill fated campaign for the presidency in 1968, I feel a special happiness that RFK's namesake is contributing so very much to make our country and world a much better place.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robin on April 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I teach second grade in a public school in a large Catholic nieghborhood. I get invited to many first communions. I am not Catholic, but growing up in this nieghborhood I know a lot about this deep faith. The story of St.Francis reaches out to everyone no matter thier religion. It has always interested me. So when this book was released I borrowed it from the library. I was taken back by it. I now buy this book for all of my students that receive their first communion, and I personally inscribe each one. My students love this story!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Roukes on March 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When I visited the Basilica of St. Francis in Santa Fe, NM, recently, I browsed through the collection of illustrated books on St. Francis, but none could compare to this one by Robert Kennedy, Jr. The illustrations in his book capture the eye immediately with boldness of color and design. While I am familiar with the life of St. Francis, this storyline presents the facts in a new way that children of any age will give rapt attention. Especially charming is the insight Mr. Kennedy gives on his family prayerfully honoring this unique Saint.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pamela W. Williams on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a large hardcover book, and it is overwhelmingly beautiful. It is beautifully illustrated, and beautifully written. Robert Kennedy Jr. is a person I feel I know now, and I would say he is a remarkable soul. His father must be very proud of him for writing this holy book...it will touch many souls and lead them closer to heaven...where his father is now.
This book may be for children, but I am an adult. I will treasure it always and pass it down. It sits on my coffee table, and I framed the piece of art of Saint Francis attached in the book. It hangs on the wall above my couch. Needless to say, this book is a holy treasure from an honorable man.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. J. S. on August 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a delightful book with high quaility art work. It is a book to keep for generations to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donna A. Miller on November 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I ordered two copies of this story, one for my nephew who loves animals and one for myself. Saint Francis was one of my mom's favorite saints to pray to and she also loved animals. So, I was curious as to her quite devotion to this saint, now that she has passed. This story brought much understanding and peace to me. It is so well written and illustrated, I could read it over and over. I also like the way the author begins the story and explains his devotion to Saint Francis and the impact he had on his life. The author is also the son of a man who had a great impact on my life, Robert F. Kennedy. His father would be proud of this book and the work he does for the environment. I plan on purchasing more copies of this book for my other nephews and nieces. Great way to spark their interest in one of God's many great inspirations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tippi Parrish on March 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was in Assisi last month on a pilgrimage. After being immersed in all of the beauty and "magic" of Assisi, I wanted to introduce my granddaughter to this incredible man. I purchased a small statue of Frances and plan on giving her the statue with the book for her First Communion. It will be wonderful to hear her read the book as she is introduced to the patron saint of Italy and the new Pope's namesake. The illustrations and story line are true to the books I have read on Francis, and perfect for a child's undertanding. My favorite quote from Francis is, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words."
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