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Magic in the Margins: A Medieval Tale of Bookmaking Hardcover – May 14, 2007
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Simon, a young orphan in the Middle Ages, is an apprentice in a monastery's scriptorium, where books are written. He learns to prepare parchment, grind pigments, and write, but he dreams of illustrating illuminated manuscripts. The monastery's Father instructs Simon to practice by capturing mice. "Study them, get to know them . . and use your imagination." Simon begins by setting traps, but he eventually understands the figurative use of language, and his fanciful drawings of mice earn him a job in the scriptorium at last. Younger children may struggle with the play on the word capture and the messages about what an artist does. Many kids, though, will be drawn in by the appealing story of a child's empowerment and the glimpse of the medieval world. Christensen extends the story with strong, clear scenes, bordered by botanical patterns and executed in ink and egg-tempura pigments, just like the monks used. A final word about the time period closes this solid title, which is sure to find a place in the classroom. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"[A]uthor...and illustrator...combine talents to create their own illuminated story." MBR December 2007 Midwest Book Review
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