From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4-- As in the pre-Christian legend of Androcles, the Christian Saint Jerome, first Latin translator of the Bible, is credited with the good deed of removing a thorn from a lion's paw. Paintings throughout Christian times picture St. Jerome with the grateful lion at his feet. Hodges, using Renaissance interpretations of the legend that show the saint with a dog and donkey, as well as the lion, has shaped a story that includes all three animals. The rescued lion, set to the task of guarding the donkey, fails to keep him safe from thieves. The monks who surround the blessed saint speak out against the lion, but kindly Jerome defends him. The lion gives up his favored place in St. Jerome's study to the dog and takes on the domestic role of donkey, becoming a beast of burden. One day the thieves return with their caravan, led by the donkey. The lion is redeemed, the donkey is returned, and the wisdom of Jerome restores peace and justice to the community of men and animals. A moral tale, handsomely illustrated with Moser's dramatically highlighted, dark-shadowed watercolors, this gentle story is well suited to church libraries and to situations in which the values of trust and kindness and "innocent until proven guilty" are to be discussed. --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
This medieval legend of the early monk who lived in Bethlehem and translated the Bible into Latin is such a wonderful story that it's surprising it hasn't been retold more often. Like Androcles, Jerome makes friends with a lion by removing a thorn from his paw. The lion stays on, his task to keep watch over the monastery donkey. Then the donkey disappears. The other monks think the lion has eaten it, but Jerome refuses to condemn him; instead, he asks the lion to do the donkey's work. Eventually, the lion finds the donkey and brings it home--together with the camels belonging to the merchants who stole it. The tale's essential harmony shines in Hodges's graceful narrative, Jerome's patient wisdom counterpointed by the quiet interplay among donkey, lion, and a jealous dog that also learns to accept the lion. Moser's elegant design, featuring a taste of exquisite calligraphy and austere rule in brilliant red, provides the perfect setting for his marvelously expressive watercolors: intense portraits of the contemplative saint; beautifully understated night scenes in shades of blue; the awe-inspiring lion, noble, fierce, yet tender. Luminous and altogether splendid. (Folklore/Picture book. 4+) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.