Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Learning a Lesson About Forgiving our Enemies, from a Brave Saint Named George

April 23rd is the Feastday of St. George! So today I'd like to recommend this book, St. George and the Dragon by Jim Forest.  Its sumptuous illustrations are by Russian iconographer and artist, Vladislav Anddreyev. (ages 4 and up)

From the book’s afterword for older readers:
True stories become streamlined into legends and legends become compressed via symbols into myths. The St. George of myth was a knight in armor who fought a dragon to save a princess, but the real George never saw a dragon nor did he rescue a princess in distress. We are not even sure he had a horse or possessed a sword. 

A Christian convert born late in the third century after Christ, George was one among many martyrs of the early Church. 

What made George a saint among saints was the completely fearless manner in which he openly proclaimed his faith during a period of fierce persecution when many other Christians were hoping not to be noticed. According to one ancient account, George went to a public square and announced, “All the gentile gods are devils. My God made the heavens and is the true God.” For this George was arrested, tortured and beheaded. The probable date of his martyrdom is April 23, 303, in the town of Diospolis in Asia Minor — today’s Turkey. His witness led to the conversion of many and gave renewed courage to others already baptized.

St George k
As you would expect, this dragon is fierce! Yet in Jim Forest's telling of this profoundly Christian legend, the dragon is not slain, but only wounded by George. After the battle the townspeople, whose children had been the dragon's food, are given charge of caring for their former enemy.

I recently bought this book for my friend's three-year-old son.  He was immediately engrossed with the colorful Byzantine-style illustrations and engaging story.

You can find it here or on Amazon.com.

"Prepared and alert a Scout follows the lead 
Of our Patron Saint George and his spirited steed." 
- Baden-Powell in "Scouting for Boys":  Did you know that St. George is the Patron Saint of the Boy Scouts?  Read more here...

You can also read more about dragons in children's literature in my past post, "Dragon Tales", here.

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